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APPLETONS' POPULAR LIBRARY 

OF THE BEST AUTHORS. 
GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



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NOW READY. 



ESSAYS FROM THE LONDON TIMES : 

A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL AND PERSONAL SKETCHES. 

THE YELLOWPLUSH PAPERS. 

BY W. M. THACKERAY. 

THE MAIDEN AND MARRIED LIFE OF 
MARY POWELL. 

A JOURNEY THROUGH TARTARY, THIBET, AND 
CHINA. 

BY M . H TJ . 

THE PARIS SKETCH BOOK. 

BY W. M. THACKERAY. 

GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

BY HORACE SMITH. 

LITTLE PEDLINGTON AND THE 
PEDLINGTONIANS. 

BY JOHN POOLE, AUTHOR OP " PAUL PRY," BTC. 



GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



BY 



HORACE SMITH, 



ONE OF THE AUTHOBS OF " KEJECTED ADDBESSES." 



NEW- YORK:' 
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY. 

M.DCCO.L1I. 



s 



\ 



PUBLISHERS' ADVERTISEMENT. 



THE collection of " Gaieties and Gravities" ap- 
peared from the press of Colburn in 1825 a 
gathering from the Author's contributions to pe- 
riodical literature, chiefly in the New Monthly 
Magazine. From these miscellanies have been 
arranged, for the present volume, a series of pa- 
pers, which to the exclusion of what was merely 
temporary or of inferior interest, will present, it 
is believed, what is most characteristic and per- 
manent in the genius of their Author, a genius 
which in its playful sallies and profounder sen- 
timents, may be classed in the school of Charles 
Lamb and Thomas Hood. 

M178897 



PUBLISHERS 7 ADVERTISEMENT. 



This book bears the name of Horace Smith ; 
a similar volume of the series will contain the 
MISCELLANIES OF JAMES SMITH, his brother, 
and the other Author of " Eejected Addresses." 

NEW- YORK, APEIL, 1852. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGB. 

ADDRESS TO THE MUMMY AT BELZONl's EXHIBITION . 9 

WtNTER . . . . . . 11 

ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS . . . . .23 

MY TEA-KETTLE . . . . . 31 

THE WIDOW OF THE GREAT ARMY . . .39 

ON NOSES ...... 41 

WALKS IN THE GARDEN . . .52, 62, 71, 80 

CORONATION EXTRAORDINARY .... 87 

ADDRESS TO THE ORANGE TREE AT VERSAILLES . . 93 

ON LIPS AND KISSING . . . . 96 

TO A LOG OF WOOD UPON THE FIRE . . .106 

MISS HEBE HOGGINS'S ACCOUNT OF A LITERARY SOCIETY LN 

HOUNDSDITCH .... 109, 116, 123 

ANTE AND POST NUPTIAL JOURNAL . . .132 

THE LIBRARY . . . . . 145 

UGLY WOMEN . . . . . - 156 

THE WORLD . . . ' . . 165 

THE FIRST OF MARCH ..... 174 

THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES . . . . 175 



CONTENTS. 



ADDRESS TO THE ALABASTER SARCOPHAGUS LATELY DEPOSITED 

IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM . . . .183 

MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON . . . 186 

BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY ! PROPOSALS FOR THEIR SUPPRES- 
SION ....... 195 

STANZAS TO PUNCHINELLO .... 204 

LETTERS TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY . . 206, 215 

A LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS . 223 

SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. CHANCES OF FEMALE HAPPINESS . 232 

THE STEAMBOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS . . 241 

MEMNON'S HEAD ...... 257 

WOMEN VINDICATED ..... 263 

PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY BY HIMSELF . .273 



GAIETIES AND GEAVITIES. 



ADDRESS TO THE MUMMY AT BELZONI'S 
EXHIBITION. 

AND thou hast walk'd about (how strange a story !) 
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago, 

When the Memnonium was in all its glory, 
And Time had not begun to overthrow 

Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous, 

Of which the very ruins are tremendous. 

Speak ! for thou long enough hast acted Dummy, 
Thou hast a tongue come let us hear its tune ; 

Thou'rt standing on thy legs, above-ground, Mummy ! 
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon, 

Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, 

But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features. 

Tell us for doubtless thou canst recollect, 

To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame? 

"Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect 

Of either Pyramid that bears his name ? 

Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer ? 

Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer ? 

Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden 
By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade,- 



10 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Then say what secret melody was hidden 

In Memnon's statue which at sunrise play'd ? 
Perhaps thou wert a Priest if so, ray struggles 
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles. 

Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat, 
Has hob-a-nobb'd with Pharaoh, glass to glass ; 

Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat, 
Or doff' d thine own to let Queen Dido pass ; 

Or held, by Solomon's own invitation, 

A torch at the great Temple's dedication. 

I need not ask thee if that hand, when arm'd, 
Has any Roman soldier maul'd and knuckled, 

For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalrn'd, 
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled : 

Antiquity appears to have begun 

Long after thy primeval race was run. 

Thou couldst develope, if that wither'd tongne 
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen, 

How the world look'd when it was fresh and young, 
And the great deluge still had left it green 

Or was it then so old that History's pages 

Contain' d no record of its early ages ? 

Still silent? incommunicative elfl 

Art sworn to secrecy ? then keep thy vows ; 

But pry thee tell us something of thyself 
Reveal the secrets of thy prison house : 

Since in the world of spirits thou hast elumber'd, 

What hast thou seen what strange adventures numbered ? 

Since first thy form was in this box extended, 

"We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations ; 

The Roman empire has begun and ended, 

New worlds have risen we have lost old nations, 

And countless kings have into dust bom bumbled, 
While not a tra^na-nt of tliv ilt>h lius crumbled. 



WINTER. 1 1 



Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head 
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, 

March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread, 
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis, 

And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder, 

When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder ? 

If the tomb's secrets may not be confess'd, 
The nature of thy private life unfold ; 

A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast, 
And tears adown that dusty cheek have roll'd : 

Have children climb'd those knees, and kiss'd that face? 

What was thy name, and station, age, and race? 

Statue of flesh Immortal of the dead ! 

Imperishable type of evanescence ! 
Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed, 

And standest undecay'd within our presence, 
Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment morning, 
When the great Trump shall thrill thee with its warning 

Why should this worthless tegument endure, 

If its undying guest be lost for ever ? 
let us keep the soul embalm'd and pure 

In living virtue, that when both must sever, 
Although corruption may our frame consume, 
Th' immortal spirit in the skies may bloom ! 



WINTER. 

THE mill-wheel's frozen in the stream, 
The church is deck'd with holly, 

Mistletoe hangs from the kitchen-beam, 
To fright away melancholy : 

Icicles clink in the milkmaid'* pail, 
Younkers skate on the pool below, 



12 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Blackbirds perch on the garden rail, 
And hark, how the cold winds blow ! 

There goes the squire to shoot at snipe, 

Here runs Dick to fetcli a log ; 
You'd swear his breath was the smoke of a pipe, 

In the frosty morning fog. 
Hodge is breaking the ice for the kine, 

Old and young cough as they go, 
The round red sun forgets to shine, 

And hark, how the cold winds blow ! 



In short, winter is come at last a mighty evil to the 
shivering hypochondriacs, who are glad to catch at 
any excuse to be miserable ; but a visitation which, by 
those who are in no actual danger of dining with Duke. 
Humphrey, or of being driven, from lack of raiment, 
to join in the exclamation pf poor Tom, may very ap- 
propriately be hailed in the language of Satan, " Evil, 
be thou my good !" The Spaniards have a proverb, 
that God sends the cold according to the clothes ; and 
though the callousness and hardihood acquired by the 
ragged be the effect of exposure, and not an exemption 
from the general susceptibility, the adage is not the 
less true, and illustrates that beneficent provision of 
Nature, which, operating in various ways, compensates 
the poor for their apparent privations, converts the 
abused luxuries of the rich into severe correctives, and 
thus pivtty nearly equalizes, through the various classes 
of mortals, the individual portion of suffering and enjoy- 
ment. In the distribution of the seasons, care seems to 
have beeu taken tliat mankind should have the full 
benefit of this system of equivalents. To an admirer of 



WINTER. 13 



Nature, it is certainly melancholy to be no longer able 
to see the lusty green boughs wrestling with the wind, 
or dancing in the air to the sound of their own music ; 
to lose the song of the lark, the nightingale, the black- 
bird, and the thrush ; the sight of the waving corn, the 
green and flowery fields, the rich landscape, the blue 
and sunny skies. It appears a woeful contrast, when 
the glorious sun and the azure face of heaven are per- 
petually hidden from us by a thick veil of fog ; when 
the poached and swampy fields are silent and desolate, 
and seem, with a scowl, to warn us off their premises ; 
when the leafless trees stand like gaunt skeletons, while 
their offspring leaves are lying at their feet, buried in a 
winding-sheet of snow. There is a painful sense of im- 
position, too, in feeling that you are paying taxes for 
windows which afford you no light ; that for the bright 
and balmy breathings of Heaven, you are presented 
with a thick yellow atmosphere, which irritates your 
eyes, without assisting them to see. Well, I admit that 
we must betake ourselves, in-doors, to our shaded lamps 
and our snug firesides. There is no great hardship in 
that : but our minds are driven in-doors also, they are 
compelled to look inwards, to draw from their internal 
resources ; and I do contend that this is the unlocking 
of a more gloiious mental world, abundantly atoning 
for all our external annoyances, were they even ten 
times more offensive. That man must have a poor and 
frozen fancy who does not possess a sun and moon 
obedient to his own will, which he can order to arise 
with much less difficulty than he can ring up his servants 
on these dark mornings; and as to woods, lakes, and 
mountains, he who cannot conjure them up to his 



14 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

mind's eye with all their garniture arid glory, as glibly 
as he can pronounce the words, may depend upon it 
that he is no conjurer. It is well known, that in our 
dreams objects are presented to us with more vivid 
brilliancy and effect than they ever assume to our ordi- 
nary perceptions, and the imaginary landscapes that 
glitter before us in our waking dreams are unquestion- 
ably more enchanting than even the most picturesque 
reality. They are poetical exaggerations of beauty, 
the beau ideal of Nature. Then is it that a vivacious 
and creative faculty springs up within us, whose omni- 
potent and magic wand, like the sword of harlequin, 
can convert a Lapland hut into the Athenian Parthenon, 
and transform the desolate snow-clad hills of Siberia, 
with their boors and bears, into the warm and sunny 
vale of the Thessalian Tempe, where, through the 
glimpses of the pines, we see a procession of shepherds 
and shepherdesses marching to offer sacrifice in the 
temple of Pan, while the air brings to us, at intervals, 
the faint sound of the hymn they are chanting. There 
was nothing ridiculous in the saying of the clown, who 
complained that he could not see London for the houses. 
Mine is a similar predicament in the month of June ; I 
cannot see such landscapes as I have been describing, 
on account of the trees and fields that surround me. 
The real shuts out the ideal. The Vale of Health upon 
Hampstead Heath deprives me, for months together, of 
the Vale of Tempe ; and the sand-boys and girls, with 
their donkeys, drive away Pegasus upon a full gallop, 
and eject the nymphs and fauns from the sanctuary of 
my mind. Tin- mrpm-onl oy^ puts out the mental one: 
I am obliged U tak^ ]>ast<>ral ol.j.-rts as rlit-y }>iv>-nt 



WINTER. 15 



themselves, and to believe the hand-writing on the finger- 
posts which invariably and solemnly assert that I am 
within four miles of London, and not in "Arcady's 
delicious dales," on the "vine-covered hills and gay 
valleys of France," or in Italy's " love-breathing woods, 
and lute-resounding waves." But when the fields around 
me are covered with snow, and fogs and darkness are 
upon the land, I exclaim with Milton, " so much the 
rather thou, shine inward, light divine ;" and, betaking 
myself to my fire-side, lo ! the curtain is drawn up, and 
all the magnificent scenery of classic realms and favoured 
skies bursts upon my vision, with an overpowering 
splendour. Talk not to me of the inspiration and rap- 
ture diffused around Parnassus and Helicon ; of the 
poetic intoxication derived from quaffing the " dews of 
Castaly," "the true, the blushful Hippocrene," or 
" Aganippe's rill." I boldly aver, that Apollo himself 
walking amid the groves of the muse-haunted mountain, 
never shook such radiant inspiration from his locks as 
often gushes from the bars of a register-stove, when the 
Pierian "Wall's End" or "Russel's Main" has had its 
effulgence stimulated by a judiciously applied poker ; 
and as to potable excitements of genius, I will set the 
single port of Canton against the whole of European 
and Asiatic Greece, and am prepared to prove, that 
more genuine Parnassian stimulus has emanated from a 
single chest of eight-shilling black tea, than from all the 
rills and founts of Arcady, Thessaly, and Boeotia. I am 
even seriously inclined to doubt whether the singing of 
the nightingale has ever awakened so much enthusiasm, 
or dictated so many sonnets, as the singing of the tea- 
kettle. 



16 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

December is the true pastoral month. For my part, 
I consider my Christmas summer as having just set in. 
It was but last night that I enjoyed my first Italian 
sunrise. I was sitting, or rather standing, with my 
shoulders supported against a chesnut-tree, about half 
way down the slope of the celebrated Vallombrosa, 
watching the ascent of the great luminary of day, whose 
coming was announced by that greenish hue in the 
horizon, which so often attends his uprising in cloud loss 
climates. In the opposite quarter of the heavens, the 
pale moon was still visible ; while the morning star, 
twinkling and twinkling, appeared struggling for a few 
moments' longer existence, that it might just get one 
peep at the sun. Behind me the tufted tops of the 
chesnut woods began to be faintly illumined with the 
ray ; while the spot where I stood, and the rest of the 
vale, were still enveloped in a grey shade. Immediately 
opposite to me, two young shepherds had plucked up a 
wattle from the fold, and as their sheep came bleating 
forth, they stood on each side of the opening, singing, 
in a sort of measured chant, alternate stanzas from the 
Orlando Furioso. They had chosen that part of the 8th 
book, where Angelica is earned, by magic art, into a 
desolate island ; and in the pride of my Italian lore, and 
anxiety to " warble immortal verse and Tuscan air," I 
was on the very point of taking up the story, and quot- 
ing the uncourteous treatment she encountered from tho 

licentious old Hermit, when a gust of cold wind 

blowing in under the door of my room puffed out my 
sun, and a drop of half-frozen water falling from the ceil- 
ing upon my head, owing to the derangement of a pipe in 
the chamber above, simultaneously extinguished my 



WINTER. 



moon ! Ever while you live, let your parlour be an 
oblong square, with the door in one corner, and the fire- 
place in the centre of the farther end, by which means 
you will have two snug fire-side places, secure from these 
reverie-breaking draughts of air ; and if, before tuning 
up your wind-pipe, you were just to take a look at the 
water-pipe, you need not, like me, be subject to the 
demolition of the loveliest sunrise that was ever invisible. 
Such are the casualties to which the most prudent 
visionaries are exposed : but are the plodding fellows of 
fact and reality a whit more secure of their enjoyments ? 
I appeal to every man who has really visited the classic 
spot from which I was thus ejected without any legal 
notice, whether a cloud, a storm, the heat of the sun, or 
some other interruption, has not frequently driven him 
from the contemplation of a beautiful landscape which 
he has in vain endeavoured to resume under equally 
favourable circumstances. His position, somehow or 
other, presents the same objects in a less picturesque 
combination ; the day is not so propitious : either there 
is less amenity and richness in the light, or the tints 
have decidedly altered for the worse ; in short, his first 
view, as compared with the second, is Hyperion to a 
Satyr. Now mark the advantages of the fire-side land- 
scape over that of the open fields. No sooner had I 
retrimmed my lamp, rendered doubly necessary by the 
extinction of my sun and moon ; composed myself 
afresh in my arm-chair, and fixed my eyes steadfastly 
upon the fire-shovel, which happened to stand op- 
posite, than the whole scene of Vallombrosa, the god 
of day climbing over the mountains, the chesnut-woods, 
and the spouting shepherds, gradually developed them- 



18 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

selves anew with all the effulgence and exact indivi- 
duality of the first impression. The sun had stood still 
for me without a miracle, and continued immovable 
until I had time to transfer the whole gorgeous prospect 
upon the canvas of my brain. There it remains ; it is 
mine in perpetual possession, and no new Napoleon can 
take it down and carry it off to the Louvre. It is deeply 
and ineffaceably engraved upon my sensorium ; litho- 
graphed upon the tablet of my memory, there to remain 
while Reason holds her seat. To me it is a portion of 
eternity enclosed within a frame ; a landscape withdrawn 
from the grand gallery of Heaven, and hung up for ever 
in one of the chambers of my brain. Neither age nor 
mildew, nor heat nor cold, can crack its varnish, or dim 
the lustre of its tints. 

Fear no more the heat of the sun, 

Nor the furious winter's rages ; 
Thou thy worldly task hast done, 

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages. 

The " exegi monumentum" and other valedictory vain- 
glories of the classic poets, were very safe auguries, for 
they were either altogether unknown, or known to be 
true: 

Both bound together, live or die, 
The writing and the prophecy. 

feut I run still less risk in predicting the durability of 
my imaginary painting, for I can neither injure nor 
destroy it, even if I had the inclination. In all ethical, 
moral and didactic writings, how unceasingly are we 
reminded of the frailness and evanescence of human 



WINTER. 19 



possessions a truth which is inculcated upon us as we 
walk the streets, by those silent monitors, sun-dials and 
tombstones. Who ever read Shirley's beautiful poem 
beginning 

"The glories of our earthly state 
Are shadows, not substantial things," 

without a deep and solemn conviction of the utter vanity 
and fugaciousness of all mortal grandeur ; without feel- 
ing that it was perishable as the reflection of the world 
upon a bubble, insubstantial as the shadow of smoke 
upon the water ? Such is the slippery nature of realities ; 
but whoever urged this objection against the imperish- 
able visions of the brain ? You may as well talk of 
cutting a ghost's throat, as of cutting down any of the 
trees which I now see nodding in my ideal landscape, 
and which will continue to wave their green heads, 
spite of all the mortgages and woodmen in existence. 
Show me the terra-firma in Yorkshire that can with 
impunity make such a boast as this. Mine is an estate 
upon which I can reside all the year round, and laugh 
at the Radicals and Spenceans, while the bond fide 
landholders are only redeeming their acres from the 
grasp of those hungry philanthropists, that they may 
be devoured piecemeal by the more insatiable maw of 
the poor's-rates. Fortressess and bulwarks are not half 
so secure as my little mental domain, with no other 
protection than its ring-fence of evergreens. Is there a 
castle upon earth that has not, at some period, been 
taken ; and did you ever know a castle in the air that 
was ? As the traveller, when he beheld the Colisaeum in 
ruins, remarked that there was nothing stable and im- 



20 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

mutable at Rome except the river, which had been con- 
tinually running away ; so I maintain that no human 
possession is positive and steadfast, except that which is 
in its nature aerial and unembodied. With these im- 
pressions, I should think rather the better of my theory, 
if it were proved to be inconsistent with facts ; and 
should assert more strenuously than ever, that the moral 
is more solid than the physical, and that abstractions 
are the only true realities. 

But methinks I hear some captious reader ex- 
claim "What is the value, after all, of your ideal 
landscape ? it is a picture of nothing ; and the more it 
is like, the less you must like it." Pardon me, cour- 
teous reader. Some sapient critic, in noticing Hunt's 
story of Rimini, (which with all the faults of its last 
canto is a beautiful and interesting poem,) remarks 
tauntingly that we may guess at the fidelity of the 
Italian descriptions of scenery, when the author had 
never wandered beyond the confines of Highgate and 
Hampstead Heath. So much the better. He never 
undertook to give us a fac-simile of Nature's Italian 
hand-writing, or a portrait of any particular spot ; but 
to present the general features of the country, embellished 
with such graces as his fancy enabled him to bestow : 
and unless it be argued that every local prospect is in- 
capable of improvement, it must be admitted that com- 
bination and invention are preferable to mere accuracy 
of copying. As well might it be objected to the statu- 
aries who chiseled the Apollo Belvedere and Venus de 
Medici out of blocks of marble, that they had never 
seen a god or a goddess. We may reasonably doubt 
whether the author of the Laocoon group ever saw a 



WINTER. 21 



man and his three sons enwreathed by serpents ; and 
we may be sure that if he had, and attempted to give a 
faithful and close delineation of the spectacle, he would 
not have succeeded half so well as he has. Such matter- 
of-fact critics might quarrel with Dante for never having 
been in Hell, and with Milton for not having visited 
Paradise before he presumed to describe it. Away with 
these plodders with scissars and shears, who would clip 
the wings of imagination ! If we may snatch a grace 
beyond the reach of art, so may we snatch one beyond 
the reach of nature ; and if I could be transported in 
proprid persona to the scene of my Italian landscape, I 
have little doubt that I should gaze around me with 
disappointment, and finally prefer the imaginary to the 
real scene. 

From the operation of this benevolent system of 
equivalents springs the variety of national character, 
which depends in a great degree upon climate. Lux- 
uriating in the deliciousness of warm suns, cloudless 
skies, beautiful scenery, and a soil spontaneously fertile, 
the Italian finds happiness enough in his external im- 
pressions, and, considering the dolce far niente as the 
summum bonum of existence, sutlers his spirit to evaporate 
through his senses, and dreams away life in a kind of 
animal listlessness. An Englishman is obliged to draw 
upon his mind for the gratifications denied to his body, 
and apply to his fire-side for the warmth withheld from 
him by the sun ; hence the two distinguishing traits of 
his character mental activity and domestic virtue. It 
is astonishing that nobody has thought of constructing 
an Intellectual Reaumur, graduated according to the 
degrees of cold, and shewing at one glance how much 



22 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

literary talent may be calculated upon in the different 
capitals of Europe. Up to a certain point acuteness 
would increase with the rigour of the climate ; and in 
all of the knotty and abstruse problems of metaphysics, 
Edinburgh would be found at a higher pitch than 
London. There appears to be something in a Scotch- 
man's brain equivalent to the gastric juice in his sto- 
mach, which enables him to digest, decompound, and 
resolve into their primitive elements, the most stubborn 
and intractable propositions. I should be disposed to 
assign to Edinburgh the post of honour upon this scale, 
and to consider this distinction as conferring upon it a 
much better claim to the title of the Northern Athens, 
than the fancied resemblance between the Calton Hill 
and the Acropolis. Farther north, both mind and body 
must be expected to degenerate ; and I should no more 
dream of ideas flowing from the benumbed scull of a 
Laplander or a Kamschatkan, than of water gushing 
from a frozen plug. If my conjecture as to the influence 
of climate in forming the Italian character be correct, it 
may perhaps be asked, since the temperature has been 
in all ages equally luxurious, how I account for their 
ancestors having built Rome and conquered the world. 
-He is no genuine theorist who cannot annihilate both 
time and space to reconcile contradictions. But I am 
not driven to this necessity, as I have only to adopt the 
theory lately promulgated by Mr. Galiffe, who, because 
the grammars of the Russian and Roman languages are 
both without any article, and the foundations of some 
of the most ancient cities in each country are exactly 
similar in structure, boldly pronounces that Rome was 
founded by a colony of Muscovites. Braced with all the 



ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS. 23 

vigour of a northern temperament, they had time to ex- 
tend their empire to the extremities of the earth, and 
rear the magnificent edifices of Rome, before they began 
to experience the degenerating effects of the climate. 
In fact they were only an earlier eruption of Goths and 
Vandals, and did not properly become Italians until 
about the period of the decline and fall. So far, there- 
fore, from militating against my theory, they afford a 
beautiful confirmation of its accuracy. 



ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS. 

" The gravest beast is an ass ; the gravest bird is an owl ; the gravest 
fish is an oyster; and the gravest man a fool." 

JOE MILLER. 

GRAVITY, says Lord Bolingbroke, is the very essence 
of imposture. A quack or a pretender is generally a 
very grave and reverend signior ; and though I would 
not venture to assert that the converse of this proposition 
is invariably true, I must confess, that as I am apt to 
doubt the virtue of an obtrusive Puritan and rigourist, 
so am I marvellously prone to suspect the wisdom of 
your serious and solemn Precisian. While the shallow 
pedant endeavours to impose upon the world by a 
serious and pompous deportment, minds of a superior 
order will be often found abandoning themselves to 
playfulness and puerility. Plato, after discoursing 
philosophy with his disciples upon the promontory of 
Sunium, frequently indulged the gaiety of his heart by 
relaxing into a vein of the most trivial jocoseness ; but 
once seeing a grave formalist approach in the midst of 



24 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

their trifling, he exclaimed, u Silence, my friends ! let 
us be wise now ; here is a fool coming." This man's 
race is not extinct. Reader ! hast thou not sometimes 
encountered a starched-looking quiz, who seemed to have 
steeped his countenance in vinegar to preserve it from 
the infection of laughter ? a personage of whom it 
might be pronounced, as Butler said of the Duke of 
Buckingham, that he endures pleasures with less patience 
than other men do their pains? a staid, important, 
dogged, square-rigged, mathematical-minded sort of an 
animal ? Question him, and I will lay my head to yours 
(for I like to take the odds), that whatever tolerance he 
may be brought to admit for other deviations from the 
right line of gravity, he will profess a truculent and im- 
placable hatred of that most kind-hearted, sociable, and 
urbane witticism, termed A PUN. 

Oh the Anti-risible rogue ! Oh the jesticide the 
Hilarifuge ! the extinguisher of " quips and cranks and 
wanton wiles ;" the queller of quirks, quiddets, quibbles, 
equivocation, and quizzing ! the gagger of gigglers ! 
the Herod of witlings, and Procrustes of full-grown 
Punsters ! Look at his atrabilarious complexion ; it is 
the same that Caesar feared in Brutus and Cassius : 
such a fellow is indeed fit for treasons, stratagems, and 
plots ; he has no music in his soul, for he will not let 
us even play upon words. Will nothing but pure wit 
serve thy turn, most sapient Sir ? Well, then set us 
the example 



"Lay OD, Macduff, 



And damn'd be he that first cries, Hold! enough!" 
How, dumb-founded ? Not quite ; methinks I hear 



ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS. 25 

him quoting* Dr. Johnson's stale hyperbole " Sir, the 
man that would commit a pun would pick a pocket ;" 
to which I would oppose an equally valid dictum of an 
illustrious quibbler " Sir, no man ever condemned a 
good pun who was able to make one." I know not a 
more aggrieved and unjustly proscribed character in 
the present day than the poor pains-taking punster. 
He is the Paria of the dining-table ; it is the fashion to 
run him down : and as every dull ass thinks that he 
may have a kick at the prostrate witling, may I be 
condemned to pass a whole week without punning, (a 
fearful adjuration !) if I do not show that the greatest 
sages, poets, and philosophers of all ages, have been 
enrolled upon this proscribed list ! 

Even in Holy Writ, whatever might have been the 
intention of the speaker, there is authority for a play 
upon words equivalent to a pun. When Simon Bar- 
Jona, for his superior faith, received the name of Peter, 
(which in Greek signifies a stone or rock,) the divine 
bestower of that appellation exclaimed, "I say unto 
thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I 
build my church," (fee. Homer has made the wily 
Ulysses save his life by means of a pun. In the ninth 
book of the Odyssey, that hero informs the Cyclops 
that his name is Noman ; and when the monster, after 
having had his eye put out in his sleep, awakes in 
agony, he thus roars to his companions for assist- 
ance : 

" Friends ! No-man kills me. No-man in the hour 
Of sleep oppresses me \vith fraudful power. 
If No-man hurt thee, but the hand divine 
Inflicts disease, it fits thee to resign. 
2 



26 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

To Jove, or to thy father Neptune pray, 

The brethren cried, and instant strode away" 

a joke upon which Euripides dilates with huge delight 
in the drama of the Cyclops.* It will be observed that 
Pope has preserved the equivoque in his translation, 
which attests his respect for this most ancient jeu- de- 
mots ; while Ulysses is described as hurrying away in 
high glee, " pleased with the effect of conduct and of 
art," which is an evidence that Homer felicitated him- 
self upon the happiness of the thought. This passage 
exhibits a very rude and primitive state of the art ; for 
had any modern Cyclopes been invoked to aid their 
comrade under similar circumstances, they would have 
seen through so flimsy a trick only with one eye. 

Later Greek writers were by no means slow in fol- 
lowing so notable an example. Plutarch has preserved 
several of these Pteroenta, or flying words, particularly 
King Philip's celebrated pun to the physician who 
attended him when his collar-bone was broken ; and 
Diogenes the Cynic made so happy an equivoque upon 
a damsel's eye, which the profligate Didymus undertook 
to cure, that Scaliger said he would rather have been 
author of it than King of Navarre. From the comic 
authors a whole galaxy of similar jokes might be collect- 
ed ; but I reserve the specification for a new edition of 
Hierocles, the Joe Miller of Alexandria, which I am 
preparing for the press in ten volumes quarto. 

* Gibber, in translating the Italian Opera of Polifemo, 
make Ulysses answer " / take no name ;" whereby all that 
followed became unintelligible, and the Greek pun was most 
ingeniously ppoilt. 



ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS. 27 

The Romans, who imitated the Greeks in every 
thing, were not likely to forget their puns, verbaque apta 
joco. Cicero informs us that Caesar was a celebrated 
performer in this way. Horace in his seventh Satire, 
giving an account of the quarrel between Persius and 
Rupilius Rex, before Brutus the Praetor, makes the 
former exclaim, " Per magnos, Brute, Deos te oro, qui 
reges consu6ris tollere, cur non hunc Regem jugulas ?" 
thus playing upon the names of both parties. Martial 
was an accomplished punster ; and Ovid not only 
quibbled upon words, but metamorphosed them into a 
thousand phantasies and vagaries. 

The same valuable privilege formed the staple com- 
modity of the ancient Oracles ; for if the presiding dei- 
ties had not been shrewd punsters, or able to inspire the 
Pythoness with ready equivoques, the whole establish- 
ment must speedily have been declared bankrupt. 
Sometimes, indeed, they only dabbled in accentuation, 
and accomplished their prophecies by the transposition 
of a stop, as in the well-known answer to a soldier 
inquiring his fate in the war for which he was about to 
embark. " Ibis, redibis. Nunquam in bello peribis." 
The warrior set off in high spirits upon the faith of this 
prediction, and fell in the first engagement, when his 
widow had the satisfaction of being informed that he 
should have put the full stop after the word "nunquam" 
which would probably have put a full stop to his enter- 
prise and saved his life. More commonly, however, they 
betook themselves to a positive pun, the double con- 
struction of which enabled them to be always light : 
sometimes playing upon a single word, and sometimes 
upon the whole clause of a sentence. When Croesus, 



28 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

about to make war upon Cyrus, consulted the Delphian 
priestess, he was told that in crossing the river Halys 
he would overturn a great empire which could hardly 
fail to be true ; for, if he succeeded, he would subvert 
the Assyrian kingdom ; if he failed, his own would be 
overwhelmed. Pyrrhus received a similar response as 
to the fate of his expedition against the Romans. 
" Credo equidem ^Eacidas Romanos vincere posse ;" 
which might import either that the JEacides, from whom 
Pyrrhus was descended, would conquer the Romans, or 
precisely the reverse : such are the advantages of a 
double accusative. 

Christianity, by superseding these Oracles, did not, 
most fortunately, extinguish quibbling, for which we 
have the authority of one of the earliest Popes. Some 
Pagan English youths of extraordinary beauty being 
presented to him, he exclaimed, " Non Angli, sed Angeli 
forent, si essent Christiani." 

Heraldic bearings are supposed to have been invented 
to distinguish the different nations, armies, and clans, that 
were congregated together in the Crusades ; and the 
mottoes assumed upon this occasion, if we may judge by 
those of England, bore almost universally some punning 
allusion to the name or device of the chief. The simi- 
lar epigraphs still retained by the Veraon, Fortescue, 
and Cavendish families, as well as by numerous others, 
may" be viewed as so many venerable testimonies to the 
antiquity of punning in this our happy island. 

There is not one of our sterling old English writers 
from whom we might not glean some specimen of this 
noble art ; which seems to have attained its golden age 
in that Augustan era of our literature the reign of 



ON PUNS AND PUNSTERS. 29 

our renowned Queen Elizabeth, when clergymen punned 
in the pulpit, judges upon the bench, and criminals in 
their last dying speeches. Then was it that the deer- 
stealing attorney's clerk fled from Stratford, and intro- 
ducing whole scenes of punning into his immortal plays, 
eliciting quibbles not less affluently from the mouths of 
fools and porters, than from the dread lips of the weird 
sisters, " who palter with us in a double sense," estab- 
lished upon an imperishable basis the glory of his 
favourite science of Paronomasia ; a glory irradiating 
and reflected by the whole galaxy of dramatic talent 
with which he was surrounded. 

Succeeding writers, though they have never equalled 
this splendour of quibble, have not failed to deposit 
occasional offerings upon the altar of Janus, the god of 
puns. Dryden pretended to be angry, when being in a 
coffee-house with his back towards Rowe, one of his 
friends said to him, " You are like a waterman ; you 
look one way, and Rowe another ;" but, though unwil- 
ling to be the object of a pun, he had no compunction 
in being the author of many, for the support of which 
assertion the reader may consult his dramatic works. 
Addison's opinion of this laugh-provoking practice may 
be collected from the 440th Number of the Spectator, 
wherein he describes a society, who had established 
among themselves an infirmary for the cure of all defects 
of temper and infractions of good manners. " After 
dinner a very honest fellow chancing to let a pun fall 
from him, his neighbour cried out, ' To the infirmary !' 
at the same time pretending to be sick at it, as having 
the same natural antipathy to a pun which some have 
to a cat. This produced a long debate. Upon the 



30 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

whole, the punster was acquitted and his neighbour 
sent off." Pope's authority we have already cited. 
Gay was probably the author of the play upon his own 
name, when he observed that the great success of his 
Beggar's Opera, whilst Rich was proprietor of the thea- 
tre, had made Gay rich, and Rich gay. But what shall 
we say of Swift, the punster's Vademecum, the Hierarch, 
the Pontifex, the Magnus Apollo of the tribe ; the Alpha 
and Omega, the first and last of the professors of equiv- 
ocation ; whose mind was an ever-springing fountain of 
quiddets, and the thread of whose life was an unbroken 
string of puns from his first to his second childhood ? 
Impossible as it is to do justice to the memory of so 
great a man, I feel the eulogomania swelling within 
me ; and that I may effectually check its yearnings, I 
leap athwart a measureless hiatus, and revert to that 
lugubrious, somnolent, single-sensed, and no-witted Anti- 
punster, whom I apostrophised in the outset. 

And now, thou w r ord-measurer, thou line-and-rule 
mechanic, thou reasoning but not ruminating animal, 
now that 1 have produced these authorities, limited to a 
narrow list from the want of room, not of materials, wilt 
thou have the ridiculous arrogance to affect contempt 
for a pun ? That genuine wit which thou pretendest to 
worship, (as the Athenians built an altar to the unknown 
I >oity), has been defined to be an assimilation of distant 
ideas; and what is a pun but an eliciter of remote 
meanings ? which, though they may not always amount 
to a definite idea, are at all events the materials of one, 
and therefore ingredients in the composition of real wit. 
These Protean combinations are the stimulants of fancy, 
the titillators of the imagination, the awakeners of the 



MY TEA-KETTLE. 31 



risible faculties ; and to condemn them because the same 
happy results may be produced by a more rare and 
difficult process, is either an exemplification of the fox 
and the sour grapes, or the pride of mental luxury, 
which would quarrel with all gratifications that are cheap 
and accessible. The sterling commodity is scarce let 
us prize it the more when we encounter it ; but in the 
mean time let us not reject a good substitute when it is 
presented. Gooseberry wine is no very lofty succeda- 
neum for sparkling Champagne, but it is better than tast- 
ing. Some may not like the flavour of the beverage, 
but none would think of abusing the caterer who puts 
upon the table the best liquor that his cellar affords. 
These sullen stupidities are reserved for an Anti-pun- 
ster. 



MY TEA-KETTLE. 

" madness to think use of strongest wines, 
And strongest drinks, our chief support of health." 

MILTON. 

A CERTAIN popular writer who is wasting his time and 
misemploying his formidable pen in vituperating that 
most innocent and ingratiating of all beverages, Tea, 
should be condemned, for at least six months, to drink 
from a slop-basin the washing of a washerwoman's 
Bohea ; or be blown up with some of Twining's best 
Gunpowder : or be doomed to exemplify one of Pope's 
victims of spleen, and 

" A living tea-pot stand, one arm held out, 
One bent ; the handle this, and that the spout" 



32 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

His cottage economy may be very accurate in its 
calculations : I dispute not his agrestical or bucolic 
lore ; but why should this twitter of Twankay pre- 
sume to denounce it as insalubrious, or brand its fru- 
gal infusions with riot and unthrift ? Is Sir John Bar- 
leycorn, after the brewer's chymist has " drugged our pos- 
sets;" or "Blue Ruin," with all its juniper seductions ; 
or Roman Purl, still more indigestible than Cleopatra's, 
to leave no alternative of tipple to the thirsty cottager ? 
Is he to have no scruples for drams, and yet to be 
squeamish and fastidious about a watery decoction, to 
play the anchorite about a cup of tea ? Sobriety and tem- 
perance are not such besetting virtues among our lower 
orders, that we can afford to narrow their influence by 
circumscribing the use of this antidote against drunken- 
ness ; and the champion of the brewers should recollect 
the dictum of Raynal that tea has contributed more 
to sobriety than the severest laws, the most eloquent 
harangues of Christian orators, or the best treatises of 
morality. But we have within our realm five hundred 
as good as he, who have done full justice to the virtues 
of this calumniated plant. Dr. Johnson, as Mrs. Thrale 
knew to her cost, was an almost insatiable tea-bibber, 
and praised that salutiferous potation with as much 
cordiality as he drank it. 

Bontikoe, a Dutch physician, considers it a universal 
panacea ; and after bestowing the most extravagant en- 
comiums upon it, declares that two hundred cups may 
be drank in a day with great benefit. The learned 
Grusterzippius, a German commentator, is of opinion 
that the " Te veniente die, te decidente," alludes to the 
morning and evening use of this beverage among the 



MY TEA-KETTLE. 33 



Romans, while the " Te teneam moriens deficiente 
maim " seems to intimate its being occasionally used as 
a species of extreme unction among the ancients. The 
late Emperor of China, Kien Long, of pious memory, 
composed a laudatory ode upon this fragrant product 
of his country, and a nephew of the writer's, a Guinea- 
pig on board one of the East India ships, having occa- 
sion to go to Nankin to buy a pair of trowsers for him- 
self, and a piece of India rubber for his brother, found 
means of procuring a copy, of which I submit the first 
verse to the reader's inspection : 

" Kou-onen peing-tcho onen-chang, 

King-tang shoo kin Cong-foo-tse ; 

Chong-choo lee-kee kou-chon whang, 

To-hi tche-kiang She-whang-te." 

The artful allusion to Confucius in the second line, 
and the happy introduction of the subject beverage in 
the fourth, will not escape the most careless critic. 

Candour requires that we should not disguise, on the 
other hand, the opinion of Swift, who thus writes in his 
Journal to Stella : " I was telling Sir George Beau- 
mont of my head ; he said he had been ill of the 
same disorder, and by all means forbid me Bohea Tea, 
which he said always gave it him, and that Dr Rad- 
cliffe said it was very bad. Now I had observed the 
same thing, and have left it off this month, having 
found myself ill after it several times ; and I mention 
it that Stella may consider it for her poor own little 
head." This libellous insinuation does not amount to 
much. Swift was a splenetic and deficient being, un- 
impassioned by the beauties of Stella and Vanessa, and 
2* 



34 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

therefore naturally unimpressed by the beauties of 
Bloom, incapable of Bohea a Narses or a Menophilus 
among the lovers of Tea. What ! is China, with its 
330 millions of inhabitants, a nation of invalids? Ra- 
ther may we apprehend from the universal potion of 
Tea an acceleration of the Malthusian dilemma, when 
the population shall press upon the limits of food, than 
any debilitation of our national strength. For my own 
part, I am so persuaded of its benign influences upon 
vitality, hospitality, conviviality, comicality, and all the 
other 'alities, that if there be any adventurous spirits 
abroad, any fellows of pith and enterprise stirring, 
any champions of the aqueous infusion, instead of that 
of the grape, we will hoist the standard of revolt against 
the vine-crowned Bacchus, dispossess him of his Pards 
to yoke a couple of milch cows to .his car, twitch from 
his hand the Thyrsus " dropping odours, dropping wine," 
to en wreath it with tea -leaves, substitute for the fir-cone 
at its tip a tiny sugar-loaf, convert Pan into a slop-ba- 
sin, and Silqnus and the Satyrs into cups and saucers. 

Fecundi calices quern non fecere Disertum f 

Apply this to tea-cups ; and why should we not be as 
jovial and Anacreontic under their pacific inspiration as if 
we revelled in the orgies of the rosy god, and were stun- 
ned and stimulated by all the cymbals of the Baccha- 
nals ? Surely it is more natural to make a toast of our 
mistresses at tea than at dinner-time ; and if upon the 
authority of the " Naevia sex cyathis, septem Justina li- 
batur," we are to toss off a bumper to every letter of 
her name, be the idol of my heart as interminable as 
she pleases in her baptismal application, a Polyhymnia 



MY TEA-KETTLE. 35 



or Sesquipedalia at the least, Bacchus will not look the 
worse in an Anacreontic for combining his old and new 
attributes, the vine and the tea plant. Let us try 

FiU the Tea-pot, fill! 
Round my rosy temples twine 
A Tea-leaf wreath, that I may sing 
Like the conquering God of wine. 
When the whole East proclaim' d him King, 
When to the sky, with music ringing, 
Shouts of "lo Bacche!" flinging, 
Each Satyr, nymph, and piping-boy, 
Danced around him mad with joy, 
Until on Ariadne's breast 
His flushing cheek he wildly press'd, 
The mingled ecstasies to prove 
Of music, wine, Bohea, and love. 

Fill the ea-pot, fill! 
Give me a nymph whose lengthened name 

In longer spells my heart may fetter, 
That I may feed, not quench my flame, 

By bumper-toasts to every letter. 

And so on. As I'm an honest man, and a sober, I think 
these verses, as flowing, bibulous, and hilarious as 
any that were ever roared over a magnum of Port, or 
a beaker of Burgundy, to a shrieking set of three-bottle 
Corinthians. Falstaif and his followers may bluster 
about their sherries-sack ; but I maintain against all 
impugners, that it will not mount into the brain and 
fill it so full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes as 

your genuine Souchong, one cup of which . 

But this reminds me, before I go any farther, to cau- 
tion all neophytes, or old tea-drinkers, to abstain from 



36 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

the use of the word dish: it is a vile phrase, in spite of 
the authority of Addison, a scullion term, washer- 
womanish fit only for the gossips of the laundry or 
the kitchen. Let them take the counsel, moreover, of 
a not inexperienced practitioner, and prefer the homely 
kettle to the patrician look and classical pretensions of 
the urn. All associations connected with the latter are 
lugubrious and mortuary ; it has funeral, cinerary, and 
lachrymal namesakes, with whom we need not sadden 
our thoughts in the hours of recreation. Besides it is 
like a hollow friend : its heart soon gets cold ; it ceases 
to pour forth its consolations with any warmth of feel- 
ing, and so spoils our tea that it may gratify our sight. 
It is hallowed by no fire-side reminiscences, fit only for 
some ostentatious tea-tippler, whose palate is in his eye 
or for some dawdling and slip-shod blue-stocking who 
loves 

"To part her time 'twixt reading and Bohea; 
To muse, and spill her solitary tea." 

What revolution in taste can be effected without 
compromising the interests of some individual or other ? 
Here is a Bardolph-faced friend who tells me it will be 
very hard for him to have the complexion and reputa- 
tion of drunkenness without its enjoyment ; but there 
is no help for it he must look his fortunes in the face, 
and reflect that it is better to be accused of a vice, being 
innocent, than acquitted of it, being guilty. Next 
comes a punster, who trembles lest his occupation 
should be gone; assuring me that many of his best 
jokes would never have been relished, had not his half- 
tipsy auditors been enabled to hear, as well as to see 



MY TEA-KETTLE. 37 



double ; and that the only good hit he ever made at a 
tea-table, was at a Newmarket party, when incautiously 
burning his fingers by taking up the toast from the 
fire, and breaking the plate as he let it fall upon the 
floor, he observed that it was too bad to lose the plate 
after having won the heat. My dear sir, as Dr. John- 
son said upon another occasion, rest your fame for col- 
loquial excellence upon that, and judge from such a 
specimen what you may hope to accomplish when you 
become more copiously saturated with Souchong. Writ- 
ers as well as utterers of good things, will be spiritual- 
ised and clarified in their intellects, by substituting li- 
bations of tea for those of wine ; and, as to the aver- 
ment of the miscalled Teian bard 

" If with water you fill up your glasses, 
You'll never write any thing wise; 
For wine is the steed of Parnassus, 
That hurries a bard to the skies." 

I hold it to be a pernicious, false, and Bacchanalian 
heresy, for which he was deservedly choked with a 
grape-stone. No ; your genuine Apollo sits throned 
upon a pile of tea-chests instead of Parnassus ; your au- 
thentic Castaly flows from a tea-pot, your legitimate 
Muses haunt the plantations of Canton. If a man were 
naturally so prosaic as to be enabled to say, with Bene- 
dick "I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, 
an innocent rhyme," I defy him to persevere in the use 
of this verse-compelling beverage, without committing 
poetry. Even a tea-board will convert and stimulate 
the most inert. Look you there ! I am unconsciously 
lapsing into rhyme an involuntary Iniprovisatore ! 



38 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



Tea, I was going to state, inspires such warm poetical 
desires. Lo, where it comes again ! One would imagine 
I had dipped my pen in Souchong instead of ink. It 
absolutely runs away with me, perpetrating bouts rimts 
in its course, and forcing me to commit to paper the 
following 

ADDRESS TO MY KETTLE. 

Leaving some operatic zany 
To celebrate the singers many, 
From Billington to Catalani, 
Thy voice I still prefer to any, 

MY KETTLE! 

Some learned singers, when they try 
To spout, become embarrass'd, dry, 
And want thy copious fluency, 

Mr KETTLE! 

They, when their inward feelings boil, 
Scold, storm, vociferate, turmoil, 
And make a most discordant coil, 

MY KETTLE! 

You, when you're chafed, but sing the more ; 
And when just ready to boil o'er, 
In silent steam your passions soar, 

MY KETTLE! 

To hear their strains, one needs must bear 
Late hours, noise, lassitude, hot air, 
And dissipation's dangers share, 

MY KETTLE! 

But thine, my nightly Philomel, 
Thine is a voice whose magic spell, 
Like Prospero's can tempests quell, 

MY KETTLE! 



THE WIDOW OF THE GREAT ARMY. 39 

Peace, home, content, tranquillity, 
Domestic bliss and friendship's tie, 
Own its endearing melody, 

MY KETTLE! 

Others, of Bacchanalian life, 
Find nothing in their cups so rife, 
As wrath and Lapithaean strife, 

MY KETTLE! 

Those filled by you a balm bestow, 
Warming the heart, whose social glow 
Bids all the kindly feelings flow, 

MY KETTLE! 

Then is thine inspiration seen, 
Then is thy classic tide serene 
My Helicon and Hippocrene, 

MY KETTLE! 

For these, and more than I've related, 
Joys with thy name associated, 
To thee this verse be dedicated, 

MY KETTLE! 



THE WIDOW OF THE GREAT ARMY. 

AT the time that the great army under Napoleon per- 
ished in the snows of Russia, a French woman, stated to 
be of respectable family and education, was so deeply 
affected by the calamity of her country, and her melan- 
choly apprehensions for its future fate, that she became 
deprived of her senses, put on widow's weeds, and 
wandered about Paris, bewailing the fate of the unfor- 
tunate armament. Dressed in deep sables, she may 



40 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

still almost daily be seen in the Champs Elysees, in the 
same state of mental alienation ; and the Parisians, 
who allow neither national nor individual sorrows to 
deprive them of a heartless joke, have long since chris- 
tened her " The Widow of the Great Army." This un- 
fortunate female is supposed to utter the following stan- 
zas at the period of the first invasion : 

Half a million of heroes I saw them all : 

O God ! 'twas a sight of awful delight 
To gaze on that army, the glory of Gaul, 
As it rolTd in its fierceness of beauty forth, 
Like a glittering torrent, to deluge the North ! 

The war-horses' tramp shook the solid ground, 

While their neighings aha ! and the dread hurra 
Of the myriad mass made the skies resound, 
As th' invincible Chief, on his milk-white steed, 
Vanwards gallop'd, their host to lead. 

Sword, sabre, and lance of thy chivalry, France, 
And helmet of brass, and the steel cuirass, 
Flash'd in the sun as I saw them pass ; 
While day by day, in sublime array, 
The glorious pageant roll'd away I 

Where are ye now, ye myriads ? Hark ! 

O God ! not a sound ; they are stretch'd on the ground, 
Silent and cold, and stiff and stark : 
On their ghastly faces the snows still fall, 
And one winding-sheet enwraps them all. 

The horse and his rider are both o'erthrown : 

Soldier and beast form a common feast 
For the wolf and the bear ; and, when day is flown, 
Their teeth gleam white in the pale moonlight, 
As with crash of bones they startle the night. 



ON NOSES. 41 



Oh, whither are fled those echoes dread, 

As the host hurraed, and the chargers neigh'd, 
And the cannon roar'd, and the trumpets bray'd ?- 
Stifled is all this living breath, 
And hush'd they lie in the sleep of death. 

They come ! they come ! the barbarian horde ! 

Thy foes advance, oh, beautiful France, 
To ravage thy valleys with fire and sword : 
Calmuc and Moscovite follow the track 
Of the Tartar fierce and the wild Cossack. 

All Germany darkens the rolling tide ; 

Sclavonian dun, Croat, Prussian, Hun, 
With the traitorous Belgian bands allied ; 
While the Spaniards swart, and the Briton fair, 
Their banners wave in our southern air. 

Sound the tocsin, the trumpet, the drum ! 

Heroes of France, advance, advance ! 
And dash the invaders to earth as they come ! 
Where's the Grand Army to drive them back ? 
March, countrymen, march! attack, attack! 

Ah me ! my heart it will burst in twain ! 

One fearful thought, to my memory brought, 
Sickens my soul, and maddens my brain, 
That army of heroes, our glory and trusty 
Where is it? what is it? bones and dust! 



ON NOSES. 

And Liberty plucks Justice by the nose. 

SHAKBPEABE. 

IT has been settled by Mr. Alison, in his " Essay on 
the Philosophy of Taste," that the sublimity or beauty of 



42 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

forms arises altogether from the associations we connect 
with them, or the qualities of which they are expressive 
to us ; and Sir Joshua Reynolds, in discoursing upon 
personal beauty, maintains, that as nature, in every 
nation, has one fixed or determinate form towards 
which she is continually inclining, that form will inva- 
riably become the national standard of bodily perfection. 
" To instance," he proceeds, " in a particular part of a 
feature: the line that forms the ridge of the nose, is 
beautiful when it is straight ; this, then, is the central 
form, which is oftener found than either concave, con- 
vex, or any other irregular form that may be proposed ;" 
but this observation he is careful to limit to those 
countries where the Grecian nose predominates, for he 
subsequently adds, in speaking of the ^Ethiopians, " I 
suppose nobody will doubt, if one of their painters was 
to paint the goddess of beauty, but that he would rep- 
resent her black, with thick lips, flat nose, and woolly 
hair ; and it seems to me that he would act very un- 
naturally if he did not ; for by what criterion will any 
one dispute the propriety of his idea ?" And he thus 
concludes his observations on the subject : " From what 
has been said, it may be inferred, that the works of 
Nature, if we compare one species with another, are all 
equally beautiful ; and that preference is given from 
custom, or some association of ideas ; and that, in 
creatures of the same species, beauty is the medium or 
centre of all various forms." If this definition be ac- 
curate, we are not authorised in admiring either the 
Roman or the Jewish noses, both of which are too ex- 
orbitant and overbearing the high-born ultras of then- 
class ; still less can we fall in love with the Tartarian 



ON NOSES. 43 



notions, where the greatest beauties have the least noses, 
and where, according to Ruybrock, the wife of the 
celebrated Jenghiz Khan was deemed irresistible, be- 
cause she had only two holes for a nose. These are the 
radical noses. In medio tutissimus seems to be as true 
upon this subject as almost every other, and, in the ap- 
plication of the dictum, we must finally give the pre- 
ference to the Grecian form, of which such beautiful 
specimens have been transmitted to us in their statues, 
vases, and gems. Whether this were the established 
beau ideal of their artists, or, as is more probable, the 
predominant line of the existing population, it is certain 
that, in their sculptures, deviations from it are very rare. 
In busts from the living, they were, of course, compelled 
to conform to the original ; but I can easily imagine, 
that if it did not actually break the Grecian chisel, it 
must have nearly broken the heart of the statuary, who 
was doomed to scoop out of the marble the mean and 
indented pug-nose of Socrates. Whence did that ex- 
traordinary people derive their noble figure and beauti- 
ful features, which they idealised into such sublime 
symmetry and exquisite loveliness in the personification 
of their gods and goddesses ? If they were, indeed, as 
the inhabitants of Attica pretended, the Autocthones, 
or original natives, springing from the earth, it were an 
easy solution to maintain, that the soil and climate < f 
that country are peculiarly adapted to the most fault- 
less and perfect development of the human form : but 
if, as more sober history affirms, they were a colony 
from Sais in Egypt, led by Cecrops into Attica, we must 
be utterly at a loss to account for their form, features, 
and complexion. Traces of this derivation are clearly 



44 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

discernible in their religion and arts ; and the sources of 
their various orders of architecture are, even now, in- 
con testably evident in the ancient and stupendous 
temples upon the banks of the Nile : in none of whose 
sculptures, however, do we discover any approximation 
to the beautiful features and graceful contour of the 
Greeks. ^Ethiopians, Persians, and Egyptians, are 
separately recognisable, but there are no figures resem- 
bling the Athenians. The features of the Sphinx are 
Nubian; the mummies are invariably dark -coloured ; 
and though their noses are generally compressed by the 
embalming bandages, there is reason to believe that 
they have lost very little of their elevation in the pro- 
cess. Leaving the elucidation of this obscure matter to 
more profound antiquaries, let us return to our central 
point of beauty the Nose. 

A Slawkenbergius occasionally appeared among the 
Greeks, as well as the moderns ; but from the exube- 
rant ridicule and boisterous raillery with which the 
monster was assailed, we may presume that a genuine 
proboscis was of rare occurrence. Many of the lam- 
poons and jokes, circulated by the wits of Athens, are 
as extravagant as the noses themselves, and enough has 
been preserved to fill a horse's nose-bag. Let the fol- 
lowing, from the Anthology, suffice as a sample : 

" Dick cannot wipe his nostrils if he pleases, 

(So long his nose is, and his arms so short ;) 
Nor ever cries " God bless me !" when he sneezes ; 
He cannot hear so distant a report." 

Or this, which is attributed to the Emperor Trajan : 



ON NOSES. 45 



" Let Dick some summer's day expose 
Before the sun his monstrous nose, 
And stretch his giant mouth to cause 
Its shade to fall upon his jaws ; 
"With nose so long, and mouth so wide, 
And those twelve grinders side by side, 
Dick, with a very little trial, 
"Would make an excellent sun-dial." 

Many of these epigrams were derived by the Greeks 
from the Oriental Facetiae ; and if we would trace the 
pedigree of a joke, which even at our last dinner-party 
set the table in a roar, we should probably hunt it back 
to the symposia of Athens, and the festive halls of 
Bagdat. It must be confesssed that, in several of these 
instances, if the wit be old, it is very little of its age ; 
for Hierocles, like his successor Joe Miller, seems now 
and then to have thought it a good joke to put in a 
bad one. 

Ovid, it is well known, derived his sobriquet of Naso 
from the undue magnitude of that appendage, though 
it did not deter him from aspiring to the affections of 
Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It is not, perhaps, so 
generally known, that the cry of " Nosey !" issuing 
from the gallery of the play-house, when its inmates 
are musically inclined, is the nick-name, which has long 
survived a former leader of the band, to whom nature 
had been unsparingly bountiful in that prominent fea- 
ture ; and who, could he have foreseen his immortality 
among the gods, might have exclaimed, with his illus- 
trious namesake, 

" Parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis 
Astra ferar, nomenque erit indelebile nostrum." 



46 GAIETIES AXD GRAVITIES. 

Though a roomy nose may afford a good handle for 
ridicule, there are cases in which a certain magnificence 
and superabundance of that feature, if not abstractedly 
becoming, has, at least, something appropriate in its 
redundancy, according with the characteristics of its 
wearer. It has advantages as well as disadvantages. 
A man of any spirit is compelled to take cognisance of 
offences committed under his very nose, but with such 
a promontory as we have been describing, they may 
come within the strict letter of the phrase, and yet be 
far enough removed to afford him a good plea for pro- 
testing that they escaped his observation. He is not 
bound to see within his nose, much less beyond it. 
Should a quarrel, however, become inevitable, the very 
construction of this member compels him to meet his 
adversary half way. Nothing could reconcile us to a 
bulbous excrescence of this inflated description, if we 
saw it appended to a poor little insignificant creature, 
giving him the appearance of the Toucan, or spoon- 
bill ; and suggesting the idea of his being tied to his 
own nose to prevent his straying. But suppose the 
case of a burly, jovial, corpulent alderman, standing 
behind such an appendage, with all its indorsements, 
riders, addenda, extra-parochial appurtenances, and Ta- 
liacotian supplements, like a sow with her whole litter 
of pigs, or (to speak more respectfully) like a venerable 
old abbey, with all its projecting chapels, oratories, re- 
fectories, and abutments ; and it will seem to dilate it- 
self before its wearer with an air of portly and appropriate 
companionship. I speak not here of a simple bottle- 
nose, but one of a thousand bottles, a polypetalous 
enormity, whose blushing honors, as becoming to it as 



ON NOSES. 47 



the stars, crosses, and ribbons of a successful general, 
are trophies of past victories, the colors won in tavern- 
campaigns. They recall to us the clatter of knives, the 
slaughter of turtle, the shedding of claret, the degluti- 
tion of magnums. Esurient and bibulous reminiscences 
ooze from its surface, and each protuberance is histori- 
cal. One is the record of a Pitt-club dinner ; another 
of a corporation feast; a third commemorates a tipsy 
carousal, in support of religion and social order ; others 
attest their owner's civic career, " until, at last, he de- 
voured his way to the Lord Mayor's mansion, as a 
mouse in a cheese makes a large house for himself by 
continually eating :" and the whole pendulous mass, 
as if it heard the striking up of the band at a public 
dinner on the entrance of the viands, actually seems 
to wag to the tune of " O, the roast Beef of Old Eng- 
land !" 

As there are many who prefer the arch of the old 
bridges to the straight line of the Waterloo, so there 
are critics who extend the same taste to the bridge of 
the nose, deeming the Roman handsomer than the 
Grecian a feeling which may probably be traced to 
association. A medallist, whose coins of the Roman 
emperors generally exhibit the convex projection, con- 
ceives it expressive of grandeur, majesty, and military 
pre-eminence; while a collector of Greek vases will 
limit his idea of beauty to the straight line depictured 
on his favorite antiques. The Roman unquestionably 
has its beauties ; its outline is bold, flowing, and dig- 
nified ; it looks as if Nature's own hand had fashioned 
it for one of her noble varieties ; but the term has be- 
come a misnomer ; it is no longer applicable to the in- 



48 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

habitants of the Eternal City, whose nasal bridges 
seem to have subsided with the decline and fall of their 
empire. 

While we are upon the subject of large noses, we 
must not forget that of the Jews, which has length and 
breadth in abundance, but is too often so ponderous, 
ungraceful, and shapeless, as to discard every idea of 
dignity, and impart to the countenance a character of 
burlesque and ugly disproportion. It is not one of 
nature's primitive forms, but a degeneracy produced by 
perpetual intermarriages of the same race during suc- 
cessive ages. 

Inest sua gratia parvis ; let it not be imagined 
that all our attention is to be lavished upon these folio 
noses ; the duodecimos and Elzevirs have done execu- 
tion in the days that are gone, and shall they pass 
away from our memories like the forms of last year's 
clouds ? Can we forget " le petit nez retrousse " of 
MarmonteFs heroine, which captivated a sultan, and 
overturned the laws of an empire ? Was not the down- 
fall of another empire, as recorded in the immortal work 
of Gibbon, written under a nose of the very snubbiest 
construction ? So concave and intangible was it, that 
when his face was submitted to the touch of a blind 
old French lady, who used to judge of her acquaint- 
ance by feeling their features, she exclaimed, " Voila 
une mauvaise plaisanterie !" Wilkes, equally unfortu- 
nate in this respect, and remarkably ugly besides, used 
to maintain, that in the estimation of society a hand- 
some man had only half an hour's start of him, as 
within that period he would recover by his conversation 
what he had lost by his looks. Perhaps the most in- 



ON NOSES. 49 



surmountable objection to the pug or cocked-up nose, 
is the flippant, distasteful, or contemptuous expression 
it conveys. To turn up our noses is a colloquialism for 
disdain ; and even those of the ancient Romans, in- 
flexible as they appear, could curl themselves up in the 
fastidiousness of concealed derision. "Altior homini 
tantum nasus," says Pliny, " quam novi mores subdolae 
irrisioni dicavere ;" and Horace talks of sneers sus- 
pended, " naso ad unco." It cannot be denied, that 
those who have been snubbed by nature, not unfre- 
quently look as if they were anxious to take their re- 
venge by snubbing others. 

As a friend to noses of all denominations, I must 
here enter my solemn protest against a barbarous abuse 
to which they are too often subjected, by converting 
them into dust-holes and soot-bags, under the fashion- 
able pretext of taking snuff ; an abomination for which 
Sir Walter Raleigh is responsible, and which ought to 
have beeen included in the articles of his impeachment. 
When some " Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly 
vain," after gently tapping its top with a look of diplo- 
matic complacency, embraces a modicum of its contents 
with his finger and thumb, curves round his hand, so 
as to display the brilliant on his little finger, and com- 
mits the high-dried pulvilio to the air, so that nothing 
but its impalpable aroma ascends into his nose, we may 
smile at the custom as a harmless and not ungraceful 
foppery: but when a filthy clammy compost is per- 
petually thrust up the nostrils with a voracious pig-like 
snort, it is a practice as disgusting to the beholders as I 
believe it to be injurious to the offender. The nose is 
the emunctory of the brain, and when its functions are 
3 






50 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

impeded, the whole system of the head becomes de- 
ranged. A professed snuff-taker is generally recognis- 
able by his total loss of the sense of smelling by his 
snuffling and snorting by his pale sodden complexion 
and by that defective modulation of the voice, called 
talking through the nose, though it is in fact an in- 
ability so to talk, from the partial or total stoppage of 
the passage. Not being provided with an ounce of 
civet, I will not suffer my imagination to wallow in all 
the revolting concomitants of this dirty trick : but I 
cannot refrain from an extract, by which we may form 
some idea of the time consumed in its performance. 
" Every professed, inveterate, and incurable snuff-taker 
(says Lord Stanhope), at a moderate computation takes 
one pinch in ten minutes. Every pinch, with the 
agreeable ceremony of blowing and wiping the nose, 
and other incidental circumstances, consumes a minute 
and a half. One minute and a half, out of every ten, 
allowing sixteen hours to a snuff-taking day, amounts 
to two hours and twenty-four minutes out of every 
natural day, or one day out of every ten. One day 
out of every ten amounts to thirty-six days and a half 
in a year. Hence, if we suppose the practice to be per- 
sisted in forty years, two entire years of the snuff-taker's 
life will be dedicated to tickling his nose, and two more 
to blowing it. Taken medicinally, or as a simple 
sternutatory, it may be excused ; but the moment your 
snuff is not to be sneezed at, you are the slave of a 
habit which literally makes you grovel in the dust ; 
your snuff-box has seized you as Saint Dunstan did the 
Devil, and if the red-hot pincers, with which he per- 
formed the feat, could occasionally start up from an 



ON NOSES. 51 



Ormskirk snuff-box, it might have a salutary effect in 
checking this propensity among our real and pseudo- 
fashionables. 

It was my intention to have written a dissertation 
upon the probable form of the nose mentioned in 
Solomon's Song, which, we are informed, was like " the 
tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus ;" and I 
had prepared some very erudite conjectures as to the 
composition of the perfume which suggested to Catul- 
lus the magnificent idea of wishing to be all nose : 

" Quod tu cum olfacies, Deos rogabis, 
Totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum." 

But I apprehend my readers will begin to think I 
have led them by the nose quite long enough ; and 
lest they should suspect that I am making a handle of 
the subject, I shall conclude at once with a 

SONNET TO MY OWN NOSE. 

O nose ! thou rudder in my face's centre, 

Since I must follow thee until I die, 
Since we are bound together by indenture, 

The master thou, and the apprentice I, 
O be to your Telemachus a Mentor, 

Though oft invisible, for ever nigh ; 
Guard him from all disgrace and misadventure, 

From hostile tweak, or Love's blind mastery. 
So shalt thou quit the city's stench and smoke, 
For hawthorn lanes, and copses of young oak, 

Scenting the gales of Heaven, that have not yet 
Lost their fresh fragrance since the morning broke, 

And breath of flowers " with rosy May-dews wet," 

The primrose cowslip blue-bell violet. 






52 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 

I. 

Heureux qui, dans le sein de ses dieux domestiques, 
Se derobe ail fracas des tempetes publiques, 
Et dans un doux abri, trompant tons les regards, 
Cultive ses jardins, les vertus, et les arts. 

DELILLE. 

A GENTLE fertilizing shower has just fallen the light 
clouds are breaking away a rainbow is exhibiting itself 
half athwart the horizon, as the sun shoots forth its rays 
with renewed splendour, and the reader is invited to 
choose the auspicious moment, and accompany the 
writer into his garden. He will not exclaim with Dr. 
Darwin, 

" Stay your rude steps ! whose throbbing breasts enfold 
The legion fiends of glory or of gold ;" 

but he would warn from his humble premises all those 
who have magnificent notions upon the subject ; who 
despise the paltry pretensions of a bare acre of ground 
scarcely out of the smoke of London, and require 
grandeur of extent 'and expense before they will conde- 
scend to be interested. To such he would recommend the 
perusal of Spence's translation from the Jesuits' Letters, 
giving an account of the Chinese emperor's pleasure- 
ground, which contained 200 palaces, besides as many 
contiguous ones for the eunuchs, all gilt, painted, and 
varnished; in whose enclosure were raised hills from 
twenty to sixty feet high ; streams and lakes, one of the 
latter five miles round ; serpentine bridges, with triumphal 









WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 53 



arches at each end : undulating colonnades ; and in the 
centre of the fantastic paradise a square town, each side 
a mile long. Or they may recreate their fancies with 
the stupendous hanging gardens of Babylon a subject 
which no living imagination could perfectly embody and 
depict, unless it be his who has realized upon canvass 
such a glorious conception of Belshazzar's feast. Or he 
may peruse Sir William Temple's description of a per- 
fect garden, with its equilateral parterres, fountains, and 
statues, " so necessary to break the effect of large grass- 
plots, which, he thinks, have an ill effect upon the eye ;" 
its four quarters regularly divided by gravel walks, with 
statues at the intersections ; its terraces, stone flights of 
steps, cloisters covered with lead, and all the formal 
filigree-work of the French and Dutch schools. If the 
reader be a lover of poetry, let him forget for a moment, 
if he can, the fine taste and splendid diction of Milton, 
in describing the Garden of Eden, the happy abode of 
our first parents 

" From that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, 

Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, 
With mazy error under pendant shades 
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 
Flow'rs worthy of Paradise, which not nice art 
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon, 
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, 
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 
The open field, and where the unpierced shade 
Imbrown'd the noontide bowers. Thus was this place 
A happy, rural seat of various view." 

Let him also banish from his recollection the far-famed 
garden of Alcinous, which however, as Walpole justly 



54 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

observes, after being divested of Homer's harmonious 
Greek and bewitching poetry, was a small orchard and 
vineyard, with some beds of herbs, and two fountains 
that watered them, enclosed within a quickset-hedge, 
and its whole compass only four acres. Such was the 
rural magnificence which was in that age deemed an 
appropriate appendage to a palace with brazen walls 
and columns of silver. Modern times, however, have 
shown us how much may be accomplished in a small 
space. Pope, with the assistance of Lord Peterborough, 
" to form his quincunx, and to rank his vines," contrived 
to impart every variety of scenery to a spot of five 
acres ; and might not, perhaps, have been insincere 
when he declared, that of all his works, he was most 
proud of his garden. But a truce to these deprecations 
and dallyings with our own modesty : the breezes are 
up, the sky is cloudless : let us sally forth, and indulge 
in the associations and chit-chat suggested by the first 
objects that we encounter. 

This border is entirely planted with evergreens, so 
benignantly contrived by nature for refreshing us with 
their summer verdure and cheerfulness, amid the steri- 
rility and gloom of winter. This, with its graceful form, 
dark-green hue, and substantial texture, is the prickly- 
leaved Phillyrsea, said to have been first brought into 
Europe by the Argonauts, from the island of the same 
name in the Pontus Euxinus. From the river Fhasis 
in Colchis these voyagers are reported to have first in- 
troduced pheasants, though many writers contend that 
the whole expedition was fabulous, and that all the 
bright imaginings and poetical embellishments lavished 
upon the Golden Fleece, resolve themselves into the 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 55 

simple and not very dignified fact of spreading sheep- 
skins across the torrents that flowed from Mount Cau- 
casus, to arrest the particles of gold brought down by 
the waters. Our own Crusades, however irrational their 
object, were attended with many beneficial results, not 
only introducing us to the knowledge of Saracenic 
architecture, but supplying our European gardens with 
many of the choicest Oriental productions. While we 
are on the subject of the Crusades, let us not omit to 
notice this Planta genista, or broom, said to have been 
adopted in those wars as a heraldic bearing, and 
ultimately to have furnished a name to our noble 
English family, the Plantagenets. Next to it is the 
Arbutus, the most graceful and beautiful of all plants, 
and nearly singular in bearing its flowers and straw- 
berry-like fruit at the same time, although the florets be 
but the germ of the next year's fruit. Virgil seems to 
have been very partial to this elegant shrub. By its 
side is a small plant of that particular Ilex, or holm oak, 
on which, in the south of Europe, more especially in 
Crete, are found those little insects, or worms, called 
kermes, whence a brilliant scarlet dye is extracted, and 
which are so rapidly reproduced, that they often afford 
two crops in a year. From these small worms the 
French have derived the word vermeil, and we our ver- 
milion ; though the term is a misnomer, as the genuine 
vermilion is a mineral preparation. The Juniper-tree 
need not detain us long, now that its berries are no 
longer used for flavouring gin, the distillers substituting 
for that purpose oil of turpentine, which, though it 
nearly resembles the berries in flavour, possesses none 
of their valuable qualities. Box and Arbor vitse, those 



56 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

treasures of our ancient gardeners, may also exclaim 
that their occupation is nearly gone, since the taste for 
verdant sculpture is exploded, and giants, animals, 
monsters, coats of arms, and peacocks, no longer startle 
us at every turn *. Yews also, which, from their being 
so easily tonsile, were invaluable for forming mazes, now 
only retain their station in our church-yards, where they 
were originally ordered to be planted by law, that, upon 
occasion, their tough branches might afford a ready 
supply of bows. But this Laurel cannot be so easily 
dismissed ; it is literally and truly an evergreen, for 
classical associations assure to it an imperishable youth 
and freshness. Into this tree was Daphne metamor- 
phosed when she fled from Apollo in the vale of Tempe ; 
with these leaves did the enamoured god bind his brows, 
and decree that it should be for ever sacred to his 
divinity ; since when, as all true poets believe, it has 
been an infallible preservative against lightning; and 
from tufted bowers of this plant did the Delphic girls 
rush out upon Mount Parnassus, when with music, 
dancing, and enthusiastic hymns, they celebrated the 
festival of the god of day. A wreath of laurel was the 
noblest reward to which virtue and ambition aspired, 

* This false taste, however, may boast the sanction of a most 
classical age. Pliny, in the description of his Tuscan Villa, 
might be supposed to be portraying some of the worst speci- 
mens of the art of gardening which our own country exhibited 
in King William's time, dwelling, with apparent pleasure, on 
box-trees cut into monsters, animals, letters, and the names of 
the master and artificer ; with the usual appendages of slopes, 
terraces, water-spouts, rectangular walks, and the regular alter- 
nations by which "half the garden just reflects the other." 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 57 

before the world became venal, and fell down to worship 
the golden calf. Caesar wore his, it is said, to hide a 
defect ; and our modern kings have little better plea for 
their crowns, from the Tartar dandy down to Ferdinand 
the Embroiderer. Yonder is the Laurus, or bay -tree, 
a garland of whose leaves .was deemed their noblest 
recompense by ancient poets ; but our modern Laureates, 
not even content with the addition of a hundred pounds 
and a butt of sack, must have pensions and snug little 
sinecures besides. Virgil places Anchises in Elysium, in 
a grove of sweet-scented bays. Those three shrubs 
planted close together are the Privet, and two varieties 
of Holly, so placed that their black, yellow, and red 
berries might be intermixed ; the Misletoe, with its 
transparent pearls, would have formed a beautiful ad- 
dition ; but it is a parasite, and requires larger trees to 
support it. On New Year's Day the ancient Druids 
went out to seek this plant with hymns, ceremonies, 
and rejoicings, distributing it again among the people 
as something sacred and auspicious. 

Two or three hundred years hence this young plant, 
which has only lately been added to the garden, may 
become a majestic Cypress : it is of very slow growth, 
and still slower decay, on which account the ancients 
used it for the statues of their gods. The gates of St. 
Peter's church at Rome, made of this wood, had lasted 
from the time of Constantine, eleven hundred years, as 
fresh as new, when Pope Eugenius IV. ordered gates of 
brass in their stead. Some will have it that the wood 
Gophir, of which Noah's ark was made, was cypress. 
Plato preferred it to brass for writing his laws on ; the 
Athenians, according to Thucydides, buried their heroes 
3* 



58 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

in coffins of this wood, and many of the Egyptian 
mummy-chests are formed of the same material. The 
beautiful youth who killed Apollo's favourite stag, was 
metamorphosed into this tree. Those taller trees at the 
back of the plantation are Firs and Pines, sacred in the 
olden time to Pan. Unacquainted with brandy, the 
ancients used to tap these trees for a species of turpen- 
tine to fortify and preserve their wines, whence the 
Bacchanalian Thyrsus was always terminated with a fir 
cone. Our garden cannot boast a single Pinaster ; but 
there is a noble one on the lawn of the Episcopal Palace 
at Fulham, whence these large flakes of smooth bark 
were lately peeled off, and, by subdividing them into 
thin laminae, they may be written on like so many 
sheets of paper, without the smallest preparation. For 
this purpose they were used by the ancients, who also 
formed a papyrus from the bark of the mulberry -tree, 
whence the Latin word liber signified both the bark of 
a tree, and a book; and the term folium, a leaf, was on 
the same account equally applied to both. From liber 
comes libellus, a little book ; and hence have we derived 
our Libel law, with all its difficulties and anomalous in- 
flictions. Who would have thought that, amid all the 
delightful associations of our garden, the Attorney- 
General would have popped his gown and wig upon 
our thoughts from behind the peaceful bark of a pine ? 
Leaving these evergreens, let us for a moment take 
a seat beneath this beautiful Plane, a tree which was 
brought originally from the Levant to Rome, and 
formed such a favourite decoration in the villas of her 
greatest orators and statesmen, that w* read of their 
irrigating them with wine instead of water. Pliny af- 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 59 

firms, that no tree defends more effectually from the 
heat of the sun in summer, nor admits its rays more 
kindly in the winter. Its introduction into England is 
generally ascribed to Lord Bacon, who planted a noble 
parcel of them at Verulam : nor can I gaze through 
its branches upon the blue benignant heavens, without 
participating that enthusiasm of natural religion by 
which Bacon himself was actuated, when he occasionally 
walked forth in a gentle shower without any covering 
on his head, in order, as he said, that he might feel the 
spirit of the universe descending upon him. Mention 
is made of a plane-tree growing at a villa of the Em- 
peror Caligula, whose hollow trunk was capacious 
enough to contain ten or twelve persons at dinner, with 
their attendants ; but the most celebrated upon record, 
is that with which Xerxes was so much smitten, that he 
halted his whole army for some days to admire it ; col- 
lecting the jewels of his whole court to adorn it ; neg- 
lecting all the concerns of his grand expedition, while 
he passionately addressed it as his mistress, his minion, 
his goddess ; and, when the finally tore himself away, 
causing a representation of it to be stamped on a gold 
medal, which he continually wore about his neck. 

Some interesting reflections will be suggested by the 
mere nomenclature of plants, if we attend to a few of 
the more common sorts, as we stray along the borders, 
and through the green-house. This little elegant flower, 
with its hoar and dark green leaves, and golden crown, 
has had two sponsors ; having first been honoured with 
the name of Parthenis, imparted to it by the Virgin 
Goddess, until Artemisia, the wife of Mausolus, adopted 
it, and ordered that it should bear her own. The columns, 



60 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

and obelisks, and towers of the far-famed mausoleum built 
by this Queen have gradually crumbled, until they have 
become so effectually mingled with the dust, that even 
the site of one of the wonders of the world is utterly 
unknown ; while this fragile flower, immutable and im- 
mortal, continues precisely the same as when her youth- 
ful fingers first pruned its leaves in the windows of her 
palace. In this Teucrium, or tree germander, we recog- 
nise the name of King Teucer, who first introduced it 
among his Phrygian subjects, as well as the worship of 
Cybele, and the dances of the Corybantes. Black Hel- 
lebore, or melampodium, is not very inviting in its as- 
sociations, if we merely consider its dangerous qualities ; 
but it possesses an historical interest, when we recollect, 
that with this plant Melampus cured the mad daughters 
of King Prsetus, and received the eldest in marriage for 
his reward. Euphorbia commemorates the physician 
of Juba, a Moorish prince ; and Gentiana immortalizes 
a King of Illyria. * These references might be extended 
among ancient names to the end of our walk ; but we 
will now advert to a few of the more modern derivations. 
Tournefort gave to this scarlet jasmine the name of 
Bignonia, in honour of Abbot Bignon, librarian to Louis 
XIV. The Browallia demissa and elata record a botanist 
of humble origin, who afterwards became Bishop of 
Upsal ; and the French, by a Greek pun upon Buona- 
parte's name, introduced a Calomeria into their botan- 
ical catalogue, although it has now probably changed 
its name with the dynasty. Linnaeus, in his Critica 
Botanica, has, in several instances, drawn a fanciful 

* See Smith's Introduction to Botany, p. 374. 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 61 

analogy between botanists and their appropriate plants ; 
but as it might be tedious to go more minutely into this 
subject, the reader can refer to the same authority from 
which we have already quoted. 

Other motives than the natural and laudable one of 
commemorating distinguished botanists have sometimes 
influenced the bestowal of names upon plants, and satire 
and irony have occasionally intruded themselves into 
the sanctuary of science. " Buftbnia tenuifolia is well - 
known to be a satire on the slender botanical pretensions 
of the great French zoologist ; as the Hillia parasitica 
of Jacquin, though perhaps not meant, is an equally 
just one upon our pompous Sir John Hill. I mean not 
to approve of such satires : they stain the purity of our 
lovely science. If a botanist does not deserve comme- 
moration, let him sink peaceably into oblivion. It' 
savours of malignity to make his crown a crown of 
thorns; and if the application be unjust, it is truly 
diabolical." * 

But see! this Convolvulus begins to shut up its 
flowers, a sure indication of approaching rain ; and the 
Calendula pluvialis, commonly called the poor man's 
weather-glass, has already closed its petals in anticipa- 
tion of an April shower. These barometers of nature 
are seldom mistaken ; the big drops are already falling 
around us ; run, run, let us seek the shelter of the 
house, and at our next walk we will take the opposite 
side of the garden, in the hope of gleaning some re- 
flections from its variegated borders. 



* Smith's Introduction to Botany, p. 382. 






62 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 

II. 

But are not wholesome airs, though unperfumed 

By roses ; and clear suns, though scarcely felt; 

And groves, if unharinonious, yet secure 

From clamour, and whose very silence charms; 

To be preferr'd to smoke, to the eclipse 

That metropolitan volcanoes make, 

Whose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day long; 

And to the stir of commerce, driving slow, 

And thundering loud, with his ten thousand wheels ? 

COWPBE. 

IN our last walk, we discovered the approach of rain 
from the shutting up of the Convolvulus, and Anagallis 
arvensis, commonly called the poor man's weather-glass ; 
the rain is now over; but as the clouds have not yet 
dispersed, we can derive no assistance from this sun-dial 
in ascertaining the time of the day. However, we need 
not be at a loss ; this Helianthus, or annual sunflower, 
is not only 

" True as the dial to the sun, 
Although it be not shone upon ;" 

but enables us to form some estimate of the hour, even 
when the great luminary is invisible an advantage 
which we cannot obtain from the dial. See, its large 
radiated disc already inclines westward, whence we may 
be sure that the afternoon has commenced : it will fol- 
low the setting sun, and at night, by its natural elasticity, 
will again return to the east, to meet the morning sun- 
beams. It was thought, that, the heat of the sun, by 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 63 

contracting the stem, occasioned the flower to incline 
towards it ; but the sensibility to light seems to reside 
in the radiated florets, as other similarly formed flowers, 
such as several of the Aster tribe, the daisy, marigold, 
&c. exhibit the same tendency, though not in so striking 
a manner. Many leaves likewise follow the sun, of 
which a clover-field affords a familiar instance. But the 
flowers we have enumerated, as they resemble the sun 
in their form, seem to have a secret sympathy with its 
beams, in absence of which some will not expand their 
blossoms at all ; while on hot cloudless days they absorb 
such a quantity of light, that they emit it again in the 
evening in slight phosphoric flashes. These scintillations 
were first observed to proceed from the Garden Nastur- 
tion : subsequently M. Haggren, of Sweden, perceiving 
faint flashes repeatedly darting from a Marigold, ex- 
tended his examinations, and stated, as the result, that 
the following flowers emitted flashes more or less vivid, 
in this order : the Marigold ; Garden Nasturtion ; Orange 
Lily ; African Marigold ; Annual Sunflower. Bright 
yellow, or flame colour, seemed in a general necessary 
for the production of the light, for it was never seen on 
flowers of any other hue. It would have been well if 
every plant possessed as appropriate a name as the 
Helianthus ; and if Ovid, in his notice of this flower, 
had always been equally fortunate in adapting botanical 
qualities to poetical purposes. 

Nature has provided us with various substitutes for 
watches besides the Sunflower, many others opening and 
shutting their petals at certain hours of the day, thus 
constituting what Linnaeus calls the horologe, or watch 
of Flora, lie enumerates forty-six which possess this 






64 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

kind of sensibility, dividing them into, 1st, Meteoric 
flowers, which expand sooner or later, according to the 
cloudiness, moisture, or pressure of the atmosphere. 
2dly, Tropical flowers, opening in the morning and 
closing in the evening, earlier or later as the length of 
the day increases or diminishes. 3dly, Equinoctial 
flowers, which open at a certain and exact hour of the 
day, and, for the most part, close at another determinate 
hour. We need not give the list, but can refer to their 
respective hours of rising and setting, if we encounter 
any of them in our rambles. 

Observe this Pear-tree ; in its wild state it has strong 
thorns, which have entirely disappeared from culture, 
whence Linnaeus denominates such plants tamed, or 
deprived of their natural ferocity, as wild animals some- 
times lose their horns by domestication. The analogy 
between vegetable and animal life approaches much 
nearer than is generally imagined. Recent observation 
has traced the progress of the sap, from its first absorp- 
tion by the roots, through the central vessels of the 
plant, into the annual shoot, leafstalk, and leaf, whence 
it is returned, and, descending through the bark, con- 
tributes to the process of forming the wood : thus de- 
scribing a course, and fulfilling functions, very nearly 
correspondent to the circulation of the blood. There is 
something equivalent to respiration through the whole 
plant, the leaves principally performing the office of the 
lungs : it has one series of vessels to receive and convey 
the alimental juices, answering to the arteries, veins, &c. 
of animals ; and a second set of tracheae, wherein air is 
continually received and expelled. It absorbs food 
regularly, both from the earth and the atmosphere, con- 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 65 

verting the most vitiated effluvia, in the process of 
digestion, into the purest air. The vegetable and animal 
parts of creation are thus a counterbalance to each other, 
Jhe noxious parts of the one proving salutary food to 
the other. From the animal body certain effluvia are 
continually passing oft', which vitiate the air, and nothing 
can be more prejudicial to animal life than their accu- 
mulation ; while, on the other hand, nothing can be 
more favourable to vegetables than these very effluvia, 
which they accordingly absorb with great avidity, and 
convert into the purest air. Plants are provided with 
muscles, by which they open and shut their flowers, 
turn their leaves to the sun, even if they have been 
repeatedly folded back from it, and perform more com- 
plicated motions, as may be witnessed in the sensitive 
plants, the Dionsea Muscipula (or Fly-trap), and many 
others ; nor have calm and reflecting writers been want- 
ing who strenuously maintain the doctrine of a per- 
ceptive power in vegetables. As Corallines, Madrepores, 
and Sponges, formerly considered as fossil bodies or 
maritime plants, have by subsequent investigations been 
raised to the rank of animals, Dr. Percival does not con- 
sider it extravagant to suppose that, at some future 
period, perceptivity may be discovered to extend even 
beyond the limits now assigned to vegetable life. * A 
Hop-plant turning round a pole follows the course of the 
sun, and soon dies when forced into an opposite line of 
motion ; but remove the obstacle, and the plant quickly 
returns to its former position. When the straight 
branches of a Honeysuckle can no longer support them- 

* Manchester Transactions, Vol. II. 



GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



selves, they strenghten themselves by becoming spiral : 
when they meet with other branches of the same kind, 
they coalesce for mutual support, and one spiral turns 
to the right, one to the left ; thus increasing the prob^ 
ability of their finding support by the diversity of their 
course. Lord Kames relates, that among the ruins of 
New Abbey, in Galloway, " there grows on the top of a 
wall a plane-tree twenty feet high. Straitened for 
nourishment, it several years ago directed roots down the 
side of the wall, till they reached the ground, ten feet 
below : and now the nourishment it afforded to those 
roots, during the time of descending, is amply repaid, 
having every year since that time made vigorous shoots." 
If a plant be placed in a room which has no light 
except from a hole in the wall, it will shoot towards the 
hole, pass through it into the open air, and then vegetate 
upwards in its natural direction. Even in the profoundest 
calm, the leaves of the Hedysarum gyrans are in per- 
petual spontaneous motion ; some rising, and others 
falling, and others whirling circularly by twisting their 
stems. From these and other evidences of spontaneity, 
Dr. Percival infers that vegetables have a limited degree 
of sensation and enjoyment; that they have an inferior 
participation in the common allotment of vitality ; and 
thus that our great Creator hath apportioned good to 
all things, "in number, weight and measure." 

Leaving these physiological researches to those who 
are more competent to discuss them, let us resume our 
desultory notices as we sit beneath this Laburnum ; and, 
as we cannot record many poetical phrases of the Dutch, 
let us not omit to mention that they call this tree, with 
not less fancy than propriety, the Golden Rain. Was 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 67 

it from one of these trees that Jupiter climbed to the 
window of the brazen tower in which Danae was con- 
fined, and thus gave rise to the fable of his visiting her 
in a golden shower ? Fix your eyes steadfastly upon 
the cup of this Narcissus growing at our feet, and by 
suffering your imagination to wave its magic wand, you 
will see, slowly rising from its petals, and expanding 
into manhood, the beautiful youth who, in the early 
ages of the world, sat beside the Boeotian fountain, and 
wooed the reflection of his own face, mistaking it for 
the Naiad of the waters, until his heart and the delusion 
were both broken together. Methinks I see the astonished 
and awe-struck countenances of the nymphs, when, on 
proceeding to take up his body that it might be placed 
on the funeral pile, they saw nothing but a beautiful 
flower, around which they knelt in silent reverence. 
What is it that brings the bees buzzing around us so 
busily ? See, it is this tuft of Coltsfoot which they ap- 
proach with a harmonious chorus, somewhat like the 
"Nan nobis, Domine" of our singers; and, after par- 
taking silently of the luxurious banquet, again set up 
their tuneful paeans. Honey is of no other use to plants 
than to tempt insects, who, in procuring it, fertilize the 
flower by disturbing the dust of the stamens, and even 
carry that substance from the barren to the fertile 
blossoms. Observe what a quantity of this yellow 
matorial is collected on the legs and thighs of the little 
pilferers ; who, as they carry it home for the construc- 
tion of their combs, settle upon a thousand different 
flowers, and assist the great purpose of vegetable repro- 
duction, while they are providing a receptacle for their 
own. Lavender and Rosemary afford a wax already 



68 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

prepared, as may be easily perceived on a close inspec- 
tion of the leaf, and on this account are particularly ac- 
ceptable to these winged marauders. It has been held 
a gross libel upon animals to say, that a man has made 
a beast of himself when he has drunk to such ex* > 
to lose his reason ; but we might without injustice say, 
that he has made a humble-bee of himself, for those 
little debauchees are particularly prone to intoxication. 
Round the nectaries of Hollyhocks you will generally 
observe a set of determined topers quaffing as per- 
tinaciously as if they belonged to Wilkes's Club ; and 
round about the flower (to follow up the simile) several 
of the bon-vivants will be found lying on the ground, 
inebriated, and insensible. Honey is found in Aloes, 
Colocynthis, and other bitter flowers, as constantly as in 
Cowslips, Foxglove, and Honeysuckle ; and the assertion 
of Strabo, that a sort was produced in Pontus which 
was a strong poison, owing to the bees having fed on 
Aconite and Hemlock, is not credited. Besides the 
flowers we have mentioned, bees are particularly fond of 
the Lime-tree, Privet, and Phillyrea ; but the cultivation 
of these useful insects is now nearly neglected. Mead 
was the nectar of the Scandinavian nations, which they 
quaffed in heaven out of the sculls of their enemies : we 
may, therefore, conclude that its use was not forgotten 
upon earth, and that the honey whence it was prepared 
must have been produced in amazing quantities to 
supply those thirsty tribes. In fact, it continued the 
prevailing beverage of the common people in the north 
of Europe until very modern times, when it was super- 
seded by malt liquors, and the bees were abandoned to 
the wastes and wilds. There is hardly bees-wax enough 









WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 09 

produced in England to answer the demand for lip-salve 
alone ; but importation from America supplies all our 
wants, for the quantity obtained in that country is 
annually increasing. A few years ago the hum of a 
bee had never been heard on the western side of the 
Allegany mountains : a violent hurricane carried several 
swarms over that lofty ridge, and finding a new unex- 
hausted country, singularly favourable to their propa- 
gation, they have multiplied, until the whole of those 
boundless savannahs and plains have been colonized by 
these indefatigable emigrants. Little thinks the ball- 
room beauty, when the tapers are almost burnt out, 
that the wax by whose light her charms have been 
exalted was once hidden in the bells and cups of in- 
numerable flowers, shedding perfume over the silent 
valleys of the Susquehanna, or nodding at their own 
reflected colours in the waters of the Potomac and 
Delaware. 

Intoxication is not confined to the humble-bee, for 
yonder is one of the common sort, whom I have been 
watching within the calyx of that flower, where he 
seems to be motionless and insensible. Look again, my 
friend, and you will find your eyes have deceived you. 
That is the Ophrys, commonly called the Bee-orchis, 
which grows wild in many parts of England, and whose 
nectary and petals closely resemble, in form and colour, 
the insect whence it takes its name. By this contrivance 
the flowers have the appearance of being pre-occupied, 
and often escape those hourly robbers ; or would it be 
too visionary to imagine that the bee first appeared in 
this vegetable state, detached itself in process of time 
from its parent plant, and acquired its present vitality ? 






70 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

There is a Fly-orchis also, as well as a Spider-orchis, 
which may have undergone similar changes. " A fanci- 
ful naturalist, who had studied this subject, thought it 
not impossible that the first insects were the anthers and 
stigmas of flowers, which had by some means loosened 
themselves, like the male flowers of Vallisneria, and 
that other insects, in process of time, had been formed 
from these ; some acquiring wings, others fins, and 
others claws, from their ceaseless efforts to procure food, 
or secure themselves from injury."* 

I see, by the expression of your countenance, that 
you hesitate to ask the name of the humble plant upon 
which your eyes are fixed, doubting whether it be a 
flower or a weed. For my part, I know not which are 
the most beautiful the wild flowers, or those that are 
cultivated ; but the little tuft on which you are gazing 
is the pretty weed called " Forget-me-not." 

A poet has seldom anything to bestow but the pro- 
ductions of his Muse, although she be often as poor as 
himself, as the reader will readily admit when he peruses 
the following return for a present of this plant : 

Thanks, Mira, for the plant you sent : 

My garden whensoe'er I enter, 
'Twill serve at once for ornament 

And for a vegetable Mentor. 
If Duty's voice be heard with scorning, 

Or absent friends be all forgot^ 
Each bud will cry, in tones of warning, 

"Forget me not! Forget me not!" 

A nobler theme its flowers of blue 
Inculcate on the thoughtful gazer, 

* Dr. Darwin's " Origin of Society," canto 2. 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 7l 

That the same hand which gave their hue 

Painted yon glorious arch of azure. 
Yes He whose voice is in the thunder 

Planted this weed beside the cot, 
And whispers through its lips of wonder, 

"Forget me not! Forget me not!" 

A poor return your gift insures, 

When paid in this poetic greeting ; 
The flowers which I exchange for yours 

Are less delightful, quite as fleeting. 
Yet when the earth my bones shall cover, 

Some few may live to mark the spot, 
And sigh, to those that round it hover, 

"Forget me not! Forget me not!" 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 

in. 

"The life and felicity of an excellent gardener is preferable to all other 
diversions." 

EVELYN. 

" "What could I wish that I possess not here ? 
Health, leisure, means to improve it, friendship, peace, 
No loose or wanton, though a wandering Muse, 
And constant occupation without care." 

To me the branches of the trees always appear to stretch 
themselves out and droop their leaves with an obvious 
sense of enjoyment, while they are fed by the renovating 
moisture of a shower. I have been complacently watch- 
ing my shrubs and plants during this repast; but the 
rain is now over, they have finished their meal, and as 
they have already begun with fresh spirits to dance in 



72 GAIETIES AND GRAY ITI KS. 

the breeze and glitter in the sunshine, let us sally forth 
to share their festivity. What a delicious fragrance 
gushes from the freshened grass and borders ! It is the 
incense which the grateful earth throws up to heaven in 
return for its fertilising waters. Behold ! here is one of 
the many objects which the shower has accomplished : 
by moistening the wings of the flying Dandelion, it has 
conveyed it to the earth at the very moment when it 
was best adapted for the reception of its seed. " The 
various modes by which seeds are dispersed, cannot fail 
to strike an observing mind with admiration. Who has 
not listened in a calm and sunny day to the crackling 
of furze bushes, caused by the explosion of their little 
elastic pods ; or watched the down of innumerable seeds 
floating on the summer breeze, till they are overtaken 
by a shower, which, moistening their wings, stops their 
further flight, and at the same time accomplishes its 
final object, by immediately promoting the germination 
of each seed in the moist earth ? How little are children 
aware, as they blow away the seeds of Dandelion, or 
stick burs in sport upon each other's clothes, that they 
are fulfilling one of the great ends of nature!"* The 
various mechanism and contrivances for the dissemina- 
tion of plants and flowers are almost inexhaustible. 
Some seeds are provided with a plume like a shuttlecock, 
which, rendering them buoyant, enables them to fly 
over lakes and deserts ; in which manner they have 
been known to travel fifty miles from their native spot. 
Others are dispersed by animals ; some attaching them- 
selves to their hair or feathers by a gluten, as Misletoe ; 

* Smith's Introduction to Botany, p. 302. 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 73 

others by hooks, as Burdock and Hounds-tongue ; and 
others are swallowed whole, for the sake of the fruit, and 
voided uninjured, as the Hawthorn, Juniper, and some 
grasses. Other seeds again disperse themselves by 
means of an elastic seed-vessel, as Oats and Geranium; 
and the seeds of aquatic plants, and those which grow 
on the banks of rivers, are carried many miles by the 
currents into which they fall. The seeds of Tillandsia,* 
which grows on the branches of trees like Misletoe, are 
furnished with many long threads on their crowns, 
which, as they are driven forwards by the winds, wrap 
round the arms of trees, and thus hold them fast till 
they vegetate. When the seeds of the Cyclamen are 
ripe, the flower-stalk gradually twists itself spirally 
downwards till it touches the ground, and forcibly 
penetrating the earth, lodges its seeds, which are thought 
to receive nourishment from the parent root, as they are 
said not to be made to grow in any other situation. 
The subterraneous Trefoil has recourse to a similar ex- 
pedient, which however may be only an attempt to 
conceal its seeds from the ravages of birds ; while the 
Trifolium globosum adopts a still more singular con- 
trivance : its lower florets only have corols, and are fer- 
tile ; the upper ones wither into a kind of wool, and, 
forming a head, completely conceal the fertile calyxes. 
But the most curious arrangement for vegetable loco- 
motion is to be found in the awn or beard of Barley, 
which, like the teeth of a saw, are all turned towards 
one end of it : as this long awn lies upon the ground, it 
extends itself in the moist air of night, and pushes for- 

* Darwin's Loves of the Plants, canto 1. 
4 






74 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

ward the barley-corn which it adheres to ; in the day it 
shortens as it dries, and as these points prevent it from 
receding, it draws up its pointed end, and thus, creeping 
like a worm, will travel many feet from its parent stem. 
The late Mr. Edgeworth constructed a wooden creeping 
hygrometer upon this principle, which expanding in 
moist weather, and contracting itself when it was dry, 
in a month or two walked across the room which it in- 
habited. 

If Nature have been thus ingenious in providing for 
the dispersion of seeds, she has not been less provident 
in her arrangements for procuring a prolific and inex- 
haustible supply. Her great leading principle seems to 
be eternal destruction and reproduction, which one of 
our essayists tells us may be simplified into the following 
-concise order to all her children, " Eat and be eaten." 
She has been not less prodigal in the seeds of plants 
than in the spawn of fish ; as almost any one plant, if 
all its seeds should grow to maturity, would in a few 
years alone people the terrestrial globe. The seeds of 
one Sunflower amount to 4000 ; Poppy has 32,000. 
Mr. Ray asserts that 1012 seeds of Tobacco weighed 
only one grain, and that thus calculate 1, they amounted 
in one plant to 360,000 ; and he supposes the seeds of 
the Ferns to exceed a million on a leaf! Nor does this 
exuberance seem necessary to counteract their small 
tenacity of life ; for, on the contrary, the vital principle 
in seeds is generally preserved with a remarkable vigour. 
Great degrees of heat, short of boiling, do not impair 
ther vegetative power, nor do we know any degree of 
cold which has such an effect. They may be sent round 
the world, exposed to every variety of climate, without 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 75 

injury; and even when buried for ages deep in the 
ground, they retain their vitality, although they will not 
germinate, apparently from the want of some action of 
the air, as it has been ascertained by repeated experi- 
ments that seeds planted in the exhausted receiver of an 
air-pump will not vegetate. The earth thrown up from 
the deepest wells, although all possible access of fresh 
seeds be carefully excluded, will, upon exposure to the 
air, shoot forth weeds, grasses, and wild flowers, whose 
seeds must have lain dormant for many centuries ; and 
it is very common, upon digging deeper than usual in 
gardeners' grounds, to recover varieties of flowers which 
had long been lost. 

Observe in this beautiful double Dahlia how highly 
nature may be improved, all double flowers being pro- 
duced by cultivation, although their reproductive powers 
are frequently lost in the process ; whence they have 
been termed by botanists vegetable monsters. This 
operation is effected in various ways : in some the petals 
are multiplied three or four times, without excluding the 
stamens, whence they are able to produce seeds, as in 
Campanula and Stramonium ; but in others the petals 
become so numerous, as totally to exclude the stamens, 
and these are, of course, unproductive. In some, the 
nectaries are sacrificed for the formation of petals, as in 
Larkspur ; while in others, the nectaries are multiplied 
to the exclusion of the petals, as in Colombine. 

"Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too," 

sings Cowper; and ours, humble as it is, may afford 
us some instruction, as we sit and contemplate its ever- 






76 



GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



green inhabitants, filling their little amphitheatre in due 
succession of rank and dignity. 

-"Foreigners from many lands, 



They form one social shade, as if convened 
By magic summons of the Orphean lyre." 

These Vine-leaves, which were suspended yesterday by 
a thread with their under-surfaces turned towards the 
windows, have already recovered their natural position, 
although detached from the stem ; whence we not only 
learn that light acts beneficially upon the upper surface 
and injuriously upon the under side of leaves, but we 
have proof that the turning is effected by an impression 
made upon the leaf itself, and not upon the foot-stalk. 
Fruit-trees on the opposite sides of a wall invariably 
turn their leaves from the wall in search of light, which 
seems to have a positive attraction for them, exclusive 
of any accompanying warmth ; for plants in a hot-house 
present the fronts of their leaves, and even incline their 
branches to the quarter where there is most light, not 
to that where most air is admitted, nor to the flue in 
search of heat. Light gives the green colour to leaves ; 
for plants raised in darkness are of a sickly white, of 
which the common practice of blanching Celery in 
gardens, by covering it up with earth, is a proof under 
every one's observation. By experiments made with 
coloured glasses, through which light was admitted, it 
appears that plants become paler in proportion as the 
glass approaches nearer to violet. 

This annual Mesembryanthemum would have af- 
forded us another illustration of the extraordinary pro- 
visions of Nature for the dispersion of seed. It is a 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 77 

native of the sandy deserts of Africa, and its seed-vessels 
only open in rainy weather, otherwise the seeds in that 
country might lie long exposed before they met with 
sufficient moisture to vegetate. Succulent plants, which 
possess more moisture in proportion as the soil which 
they are destined to inhabit is parched and sunny, 
attain that apparently contradictory quality by the great 
facility with which they imbibe, and their being almost 
totally free from perspiration, which in plants of other 
latitudes is sometimes excessive. According to Dr. 

o 

Hales, the large annual Sunflower perspires about seven- 
teen times as fast as the ordinary insensible perspiration 
of the human skin ; and the quantity of fluid which eva- 
porates from the leaves of the Cornelian Cherry in the 
course of twenty-four hours, is said to be nearly equal 
to twice the weight of the whole shrub. Sometimes, 
from a sudden condensation of their insensible evapora- 
tion, drops of clear water will, even in England, in hot 
calm weather, fall from groves of Poplar or Willow, 
like a slight shower of rain. Ovid has made a poetical 
use of this exudation from Lombardy Poplars, which he 
supposes to be the tears of Phaeton's sisters, who were 
transformed into those trees. 

How utterly vain and insignificant appear all the 
alembics and laboratories of chemists and experimental 
philosophers, when compared with the innumerable, 
exquisite, and unfathomable processes which Nature, 
in silence and without effort, is at this instant elaborat- 
ing within the precints of our little garden ! From the 
same mysterious earth, planted in the same pot, her in- 
scrutable powers will not only concoct various flowers 
utterly dissimilar in form, odour, colours, and proper- 



78 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

ties, some perhaps containing a deadly poison, others 
a salutary medicine ; but she will even sometimes com- 
bine all these discordant secretions in the same plant. 
The gum of the Peach-tree, for instance, is mild and 
mucilaginous. The bark, leaves, and flowers, abound 
with a bitter secretion of a purgative and rather danger- 
ous quality. The fruit is replete not only with acid, 
mucilage, and sugar, but with its own peculiar aromatic 
and highly volatile secretion, elaborated within itself, 
on which its fine flavour depends. How far are we still 
from understanding the whole anatomy of the vegeta- 
ble body, which can create and keep separate such dis- 
tinct and discordant substances ! * Iron has been de- 
tected in roses, and is supposed to be largely produced 
by vegetable decomposition, from the chalybeate qual- 
ity and ochrous deposit of waters flowing from morass- 
es ; and it is well ascertained that pure flint is secreted 
in the hollow stem of the Bamboo, in the cuticle of va- 
rious grasses, in the cane, and in the rough Horsetail, 
in which latter it is very copious, and so disposed as to 
make a natural file, for which purpose it is used in our 
manufactures. What a contrast, exclaims the same in- 
genious botanist, to whom we have been so largely in- 
debted, between this secretion of the tender vegetable 
frame, and those exhalations which constitute the per- 
fume of flowers ! One is among the most permanent 
substances in nature an ingredient in the primaeval 
mountains of the globe ; the other, the invisible, intan- 
gible breath of a moment ! 

Among the innumerable advantages to be derived 

* Smith's Introduction to Botany. 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 79 

from a knowledge of botany, however slight, may be 
mentioned the perpetual amusement which it affords 
in scenes which to others might be only productive of 
ennui ; the impressions of pure natural religion which 
it awakens, and the lofty and ennobling sentiments by 
which they are invariably associated. Nor do we need 
for this purpose the garden's artificial embellishments, 
as the same sensations may be excited, even in a more 
striking degree, amid the most desolate scenes. 

Nature in every form is lovely still. 

I can admire to ecstasy, although 

I be not bower' d in a rustling grove, 

Tracing through flowery tufts some twinkling rill, 

Or perch' d upon a green and sunny hill, 

Gazing upon the sylvanry below, 

And harking to the warbling beaks above. 

To me the wilderness of thorns and brambles 

Beneath whose weeds the muddy runnel scrambles 

The bald, burnt moor the marsh's sedgy shallows, 

Where docks, bullrushes, watefflags, and mallows, 

Choke the rank waste, alike can yield delight. 

A blade of silver hair-grass nodding slowly 

In the soft wind, the thistle's purple crown, 

The ferns, the rushes tall, and mosses lowly, 

A thorn, a weed, an insect, or a stone, 

Can thrill me with sensations exquisite, 

For all are requisite, and every part 

Points to the mighty hand that fashioned it. 

Then as I look aloft with yearning heart, 

The trees and mountains, like conductors, raise 

My spirit upward on its flight sublime ; 

And clouds, and sun, and heaven's marmorean floor, 

Are but the stepping-stones by which I climb 

Up to the dread Invisible, to pour 

My grateful feelings out in silent praise. 



80 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

When the soul shakes her wings, how soon we fly 
From earth to th' empyrean heights, and tie 
The Thunderer to the tendril of a weed. 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 

IV. 

My garden takes up half my daily care, 
And my field asks the minutes I can spare. 

HARTE. 

IT was said of Burke, that no one could stand un- 
der the same gateway with him, during a shower of 
rain, without discovering that he was an extraordinary 
man, a very consolatory assertion to the inhabitants 
of London, who were not, perhaps, previously aware 
that any discovery could be made or pleasant associa- 
tion awakened during that most irksome period, when 
they are huddled with strange companions under the 
shelter of a low arch, gazing listlessly at the rushing 
and wrangling kennel, or walking to the back of the 
covered way to exchange weeping looks with the sky. 
In that ten minutes of London's suspended animation, 
all is desolation and gloom ; the deserted street is a 
wide waste of bubbles and mud ; from the unimbibing 
flag-stones the discoloured drops scramble into the gut- 
ter to disembogue themselves into a feculent and sterco- 
raceous receptacle, whither the imagination refuses to 
follow them : now and then the loud pattering on an 
umbrella announces the approach of some sturdy pedes- 
trian who hurries by, and the cheerless prospect is again 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 81 

confined to mud and stones, until a hackney-coach rat- 
tles past with its lame and dripping cattle, while the 
flap-hatted driver holds his head on one side to avoid 
the pelting of the storm, utterly indifferent to the up- 
held fingers of the shop-and-alley-imprisoned women, 
or the impatient calls of appointment-breaking men ; 
signals to which, but half an hour before, he would 
have been all eye, all ear. No delectable associations, 
either natural or literary, spring up to alleviate the te- 
dium of such a detention as we have been describing ; 
for even the recollection of Swift's imitative description 
of a city-shower will but aggravate the annoyances of 
our situation, by the fidelity with which he has por- 
trayed the scene. How different the effect of a shower 
in the country ! We have already noticed the air of 
enjoyment with which the trees droop down their 
branches to be fed, and the silent satisfaction with which 
the thirsty earth drinks in the refreshing moisture ; but 
there is scarcely a drop of rain which we may not mor- 
alize into as many conceits as Jaques summoned up 
from the tears of the poor wounded stag. Are we in 
a puerile mood, we may forthwith realize that most pal- 
pable conception of Mother Bunch, by which our youth- 
ful imaginations have been so often raised to ecstasy, (is 
it not the tale of Prince Florizel ?) wherein the discrimi- 
nating fairy rewards her obedient children, by summon- 
ing from the air a shower of tarts and cheesecakes a 
prodigy which we can thus easily accomplish with the 
wand of fancy. The limpid drops destined to feed the 
corn whence the flour is obtained, and expand the pulp 
of the currant, raspberry, or gooseberry, which is to be 
enshrined in its paste, are clearly the primal though un- 






82 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

concocted elements of the feast which Mrs. Bunch 
(away with the disrespectful term Mother /) perfected 
amid the magical ovens of the sky, and showered down 
into the upturned mouths of her infantine worshippers. 
Every shower of rain is, in fact, a new supply from the 
great ante-natal infinite of pastry. 

Are we poetically inclined in our combinations, there 
is not a drop from which imagination may not extract 
beauty and melody, by pursuing it into the labyrinth 
of some " bosky dell " or dark umbrageous nook, only 
lighted up by the yellow eyes of the primrose ; or we 
may convert it into a little crystal bark, suffering our 
fancies to float upon it adown some gurgling rivulet, 
under a canopy of boughs, and between banks of flow- 
ers, nodding, like Narcissus, at their own image in the 
water, and so sailing along in the moonlight to the ac- 
companiment of its own music, we may realize Cole- 
ridge's 

" Hidden brook 
In the leafy month of June, 
That to the sleeping woods all night 
Singeth a quiet tune." 

By patience and perseverance the leaf of the mul- 
berry-tree becomes satin; the rain which we shake 
from our feet may be metamorphosed into that leaf, and 
ultimately revisit them in the form of silk stockings. 
By anticipating the silent elaborations of Nature, and 
following up her processes, we may substantiate the 
dreams of those poets and Oriental writers who tell of 
roses, jonquils, and violets, foiling from the sky, for al- 
most every one of the globules of rain may be a future 



WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 83 

flower. Absorbed by the thirsty roots, it may be con- 
verted into sap, and, working its way into the flower- 
stalk, may, in process of time, assume the form of pe- 
tals, turning their fragrant lips upwards to bless the sky 
whence they originally descended. Or, are we disposed 
to contemplate the shower with a more exalted antici- 
pation, we have but to recollect that all flesh is grass, 
and the inevitable converse of the proposition, that all 
grass is destined to become flesh, either animal or human, 
and straightway the rain becomes instinct with vital- 
ity, and we may follow each drop through its vegetable 
existence as pasture into the ribs of some future prize- 
ox ; or into the sparkling eye of its proprietor, some 
unborn Mr. Coke or Lord Somerville, standing proudly 
by its side ; or into the heart of a Milton, the blood of 
a Hampden, or the brain of a Bacon. Thus in a passing 
shower may we unconsciously be pelted with the com- 
ponent parts of bulls and sheep, poets, patriots, and 
philosophers a fantastical speculation perhaps, but it 
is better than shivering at the end of an alley in Hoi- 
born without thinking of anything, or flattening one's 
nose against the pane of a coffee-house window in splen- 
etic vacancy. 

Having mentioned the name of Bacon, let us not 
omit to record his assertion, that " when ages grow to 
civility and elegancy, men come to build stately, sooner 
than to garden finely ; as if gardening were the great- 
er perfection ;" a remark no less honourable to the 
noble science of horticulture, than historically accordant 
with fact. Our own pre-eminence at the present mo- 
ment may be adduced in confirmation ; and it is no 
slight evidence of advancing civilization in China, that 






84 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

they have become not less enthusiastic than expert in 
the cultivation of flowers. Scarce European plants com- 
mand higher pi-ices at Pekin than could be obtained 
for any Chinese production in London. But we have 
rambled and preluded till the shower is over, and \ve 
may now again venture out into the garden. This 
Fig-tree suggests the passing remark, that although the 
sexual system of plants owes its establishment chiefly 
to Linnaeus, the fact was well known to the ancients. 
The Date-Palm, in all ages a primary object of culti- 
vation, bears barren and fertile flowers upon separate 
trees ; and the Greeks soon discovered, that to have 
abundant and well-flavoured fruit, it was expedient to 
plant both together. Without this arrangement dates 
have no kernel, and are not good fruit. In the Levant 
the same process is practised on the Pistacia and fig. 
This gall which has fallen from our young oak is a 
tumour or a disease in the tree, and will ultimately 
become animated with myriads of insects. Galls for 
making ink are the oak-apples of a Levant Quercus, 
different from any of ours. Yonder is the Holly, from 
whose bark the treacherous bird-lime is prepared. Po- 
ets have bewailed the hard fate of the eagle, whose 
wing had furnished the plume of the arrow by which 
he was shot why have they not melodized in verse 
the perfidious treatment of linnets and robins, whose 
natural perch is thus converted into a snare to rob them 
of their life and liberty ? In passing this Vine, so fer- 
tile in all pleasant and hilarious associations, we may 
record that Dr. Hales, by affixing tubes to the stump 
of one which he had cut off in April, found that the sap 
rose twenty-one feet high ; whence we may form some 






WALKS IN THE GARDEN. 85 

notion of the moisture which these plants absorb from 
the earth, and brew into wine, in their minute vessels, 
for the recreation and delight of man. The village-clock 
striking the hour of eleven, reminds me of one remark- 
able circumstance which I might otherwise have omitted 
to notice that it is a number totally unknown in bot- 
any, no plant, tree, shrub, or flower, having yet been 
discovered in which the corolla has eleven males. The 
prevalence of the Polyandrian system among plants is 
attested by the singular fact, that out of 11,500 species 
of plants enumerated in the first thirteen classes of the 
Cambridge collection, there is not one, bearing barren 
and fertile flowers, in which the females exceed the 
males. 

" In the royal ordering of gardens," says Bacon, 
" there ought to be a garden for every month in the 
year ;" by the adoption of which recommendation, even 
in private pleasure-grounds, we might secure to our- 
selves the enjoyment of a perpetual bloom, placing our- 
selves, as it were, beneath the cornucopia of Flora to 
be crowned with a perennial garland. Even when the 
evergreens in the depth of winter refute their own 
name, and present nothing to the eye but waving tufts 
of snow, we may perpetuate the summer landscape by 
turning our glance inward, and recalling the flowery- 
ness and green overgrowth of the past season : or in 
the midst of leafless shrubs and trees, whose fleshless 
bones are wrapped in snow, like skeletons in their wind- 
ing sheets, we may call around us all their verdant 
glories by anticipating the garniture of the following 
spring, in the manner of which Cowper has afforded so 
beautiful an example : 



86 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



- These naked shoots, 



Barren as lances, among which the wind 

Makes wintry music, sighing as it goes, 

Shall put their graceful foliage on again, 

And more aspiring, and with ampler spread, 

Shall boast new charms, and more than they have lost 

Then each in its peculiar honours clad, 

Shall publish even to the distant eye 

Its family and tribe. Laburnum, rich 

In streaming gold ; syriuga, ivory pure ; 

The scentless and the scented rose ; this red, 

And of a humbler growth, the other tall, 

And throwing up into the darkest gloom 

Of neighbouring cypress, or more sable yew, 

Her silver globes, light as the foamy surf 

That the wind severs from the broken wave : 

The lilac, various in array, now white, 

Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set 

With purple spikes pyramidal, as if 

Studious of ornament, yet unresolved 

Which hue she most approved, she chose them all ; 

Copious of flowers the woodbine, pale and wan, 

But well compensating her sickly looks 

With never-cloying odours, early and late ; 

Hypericum all bloom, so thick a swarm 

Of flowers, like flies clothing her slender rods, 

That scarce a leaf appears ; mezerion too, 

Though leafless, well attired, and thick beset 

With blushing wreaths, investing every spray ; 

Althaea with the purple eye : the broom 

Yellow and bright, as bullion unalloy'd 

Her blossoms; and luxuriant above all 

The jasmine, throwing wide her elegant sweeta, 

The deep dark-green of whose unvarnish'd leaf 

Makes more conspicuous, and illumines more 

The bright profusion of her scatter'd stars." 



CORONATION EXTRAORDINARY. 87 



CORONATION EXTRAORDINARY. 

I HAVE seen the Coronation, and never did I witness a 
sight so magnificent so august so sublime. If ever 
the exclamation of " liczc olim meminisse juvabif can 
be applicable, it must be to a spectacle like this, which, 
by eclipsing the future as well as the past, has condens- 
ed the wonders of a whole life in one absorbing moment, 
and given me reason to be thankful that my existence 
was made contemporaneous with such a surpassing 
display of glory and splendour. So far from seeking to 
aggrandize what I have seen, even if that were possible, 
by any inflation of language, I have purposely abstained, 
during several days, from any attempt at description, in 
order that some portion of my enthusiasm might be 
suffered to evaporate ; and yet, even now, I feel the 
necessity of perpetually keeping my pen below the level 
of my feelings, lest I should be suspected of intemperate 
exaggeration. In all sincerity of heart I may say, that 
I unaffectedly pity those who, from any inexcusable 
considerations of interest, or the more justifiable causes 
of compulsory absence, have been debarred from sharing 
the intense gratification which I have experienced. Exhi- 
bitions of this nature are rare, and a concurrence of cir- 
cumstances united to give interest and magnificence to 
the present, which may never be again combined. The 
previous night, by its serene splendour, seemed anxious 
to do honour to the approaching gorgeousness. One 
would have thought that it was a court-day in heaven, 
and that all its nobility was present, sparkling in their 
stars, and coronets, and girdles of light ; while imagina- 



88 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

tion easily converted the milky way into a cluster of 
radiant courtiers gathering around the throne from which 
their splendours were derived. Morning began to dawn 
with a calm loveliness, which rather confirmed than 
dissipated these floating delusions of the mind. From 
the gallery where I had procured a seat, I saw the stars 
gradually "'gin to pale their ineffectual fires," until 
none remained visible but Dian's crescent, slowly chang- 
ing its hue from gold to silver, and the sparkling son of 
Jupiter and Aurora, Lucifer, who, by his reluctant 
twinklings, seemed struggling for a little longer exist- 
ence, that he might catch one glimpse of the approach- 
ing magnificence. Already were the eastern skies 
steeped in a faint grey light, interspersed with streaks 
of pale green, while fresh flushes of a rosier hue came 
every moment flooding up from beneath the horizon, 
and a breeze, sent forward as the herald of the sun, 
presently wafted round me such a gush of crimson ra- 
diance, that I felt (to use the only poetical expression of 
Sternhold and Hopkins) as if the morning " on the 
wings of wind came flying all abroad." Behold, I 
exclaimed, 

" the jocund day 
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain's top ;" 

and I was endeavouring to recollect Tasso's beautiful 
description of sunrise, when the increasing charms of 
the daybreak compelled me to concentrate all my facul- 
ties in the contemplation of the scene with which I was 
surrounded. 

The gallery where I had taken my station was a 
terrace which overhangs the Lake of Ch6de, opposite to 



CORONATION EXTRAORDINARY. 89 

Mont Blanc ; and he who from this point has seen the 
sun rise, and shower its glories upon the romantic and 
stupendous wonders with which he is encompassed, will 
not marvel that I shrink from the hopeless attempt of 
its description. It is a spectacle to be felt, not painted. 
Amid the solitude of those gigantic and sublime regions 
there is something peculiarly impressive in witnessing 
the magnificence of Nature, as she silently performs her 
unerring evolutions ; and the heart of man, feeling itself 
in the immediate presence of Omnipotence, turns with 
instinctive reverence to its Creator. But let me resume 
my narrative of the Coronation not of a poor fleeting 
mortal like ourselves, but of that glorious King coeval 
with the world, and to endure till the great globe itself 
shall crumble and dissolve ; of that truly legitimate 
Sovereign, who alone can plead divine right for his 
enthronement, since the Almighty has planted his feet 
deep in the bowels of the earth, and lifted his head 
above the clouds ; of that Monarch of the mountains, 
who indeed deserves the appellation of Majesty Mont 
Blanc. If I cannot say, in newspaper phraseology, that 
the morning was ushered in with the ringing of bells, I 
may affirm that ten thousand were waving to and fro in 
the breezes of Heaven, for the lilies of the valley, and 
the hyacinths, and the blue bells, and the wild flowers, 
were all nodding their down-looking cups at the earth ; 
and who shall say that they were not melodious with a 
music inaudible to human ears, although fraught with 
harmonious vibrations for the innumerable insects who 
were recreating themselves beneath their pendant bel- 
fries ? No daughter of earth, however fair or noble, 
would have been presumptuous enough to aspire to the 



90 (.All. I IKS AND GRAVITIES. 

honour of strewing flowers on this august occasion, for a 
lu'nvriily florist had fashioned them with his hand, and 
perfumed them witli hishreath, and Flora scattered them 
spontaneously from her lap as she walked along the 
valleys. By the same mighty hand was performed the 
ivivmony of the anointing; and as I saw the dews of 
heaven glittering in the dawning light, while they fell 
upon the head of the mountain, I exclaimed, " Here, 
indeed, is a monarch who may, without impiety, be 
termed the Lord's anointed !" Bursting forth from a 
pavilion of crimson and gold clouds, the sun now threw 
his full effulgence upon the lofty forehead of Mont 
Blanc ; and the glaciers, and the rocks of red porphyry 
and granite, and the valley of Chamouni, and that sea 
of diamonds, the Mer de Glace, gradually became cloth- 
ed in gorgeous robes of light. As I contemplated the 
sea-green pyramids of ice that surrounded Mont Blanc, 
each, as it became tipped with sun-light, appearing to 
have put on its coronet of sparkling silver, methought 
there never had been so grand a potentate, encircled 
with such splendid nobility and courtiers. Nor did the 
great hall in which they were assembled appear un- 
worthy of its tenants ; for as it had not been built by 
hands, so neither was it limited by human powers, 
possessing only the walls of the horizon for its bounda- 
ries, and having for its roof the azure vault of heaven, 
painted with vari-coloured clouds, and illuminated by 
the glorious and flaming sun. From the tops of the 
surrounding heights, various stripes of purple clouds, 
laeed with light, assumed the appearance of flags and 
banners floating in the air in honour of the joyous day ; 
but my attention was more particularly directed to two 



CORONATION EXTRAORDINARY. 91 

hovering masses of darker hue, which, majestically 
descending from heaven towards the summit of Mont 
Blanc, at length deposited their burthen upon its head 
in the form of a crown of snow, which an electric flash 
instantly lighted up with intolerable splendour, while a 
loud peal of thunder gave notice to all the world that 
the ceremony of Coronation had been accomplished. 
Alps and Apennines " rebellow'd to the roar ;" every 
mountain opening its deep-toned throat, and shouting 
out the joyful intelligence to its neighbour, until, after 
countless hollow and more hollow reverberations, the 
sound died away in the distance of immeasurable 
space. 

Nor was the banquet wanting to complete this au- 
gust festival; for as mine eye roamed over the fertile 
plains and valleys commanded by the eminence on which 
I stood, I found that He who owns the cattle on a thou- 
sand hills had covered them with corn, and fruits, and 
wine, and oil, and honey, spreading out a perpetually 
renewed feast for whole nations, diffusing, at the same 
time, odours and perfumes on every side, and recreating 
the ears of the guests with the mingled harmony of 
piping birds, melodious winds, rustling woods, the gush- 
ing of cascades, and the tinkling of innumerable rills. 
Again I turned my looks towards Mont Blanc, and lo ! 
a huge avalanche, detaching itself from its summit, came 
thundering down into the valley below, making earth 
shake with the concussion. " Behold !" I exclaimed, 
" He who overthroweth the horse and his rider" hath 
sent his Champion to challenge all the world ; and at 
this moment a smaller portion, which had broken away 
from the falling mass, came leaping towards me, and 



92 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

shivered itself into a cloud of snow beneath, as if the 
tremendous Champion had thrown down his gauntlet 
at my feet. Overcome with awe and wonder, I shrunk 
into myself; and as the rocks, and caverns, and moun- 
tains round echoed to the roar of the falling avalanche, 
methought they hailed the Coronation of the monarch, 
and shouting with a thousand voices, made the whole 
welkin ring to their acclamations of Mont Blanc ! Mont 
Blanc ! Mont Blanc ! 

Since witnessing this most impressive scene, I have 
read an account of the Coronation of " an island- 
monarch throned in the west," with all its circumstan- 
tial detail of Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and 
Knights in their ermine robes, Kings-at-arms, and 
Heralds in their gewgaw coats, and Bishops in the pomp 
of pontificals, with the parade of gold spurs, ewers, maces, 
swords, sceptres, crowns, balls and crosses ; but when I 
compared it with the stupendous exhibition of nature 
which I had so lately beheld, the whole sunk into 
insignificance ; nor could I suppress a smile of pity as I 
shared the feeling with which Xerxes contemplated his 
mighty armament, and reflected that, in a few fleeting 
years, the whole of all this human pride, with the sol- 
diers and horses that paraded around it, and the multi- 
tude that huzzaed without, would be converted into 
dust ; the haughtiest of the nobles lying an outstretched 
corpse in a dark and silent vault, with nothing of his 
earthly splendour left but the empty trappings and 
escutcheons which, in mockery of the lofty titles with 
which they are inscribed, will hang mouldering upon 
his coffin. The ceremony will not, however, have been 
unavailing, if it shall have awakened reflections of this 



ADDRESS TO THE ORANGE TREE. 93 

nature in the minds of those who contributed to it, and 
have impressed upon their hearts the truth of Shirley's 
noble lines, in the contention of Ajax and Ulysses : 

" The glories of our earthly state 

Are shadows, not substantial things ; 
There is no armour against fate, 

Death lays his icy hand on kings : 
Sceptre and crown 
Must tumble down, 
And in the dust be equal made 
With the poor crooked scythe and spade." 



ADDRESS TO THE ORANGE TREE AT VERSAILLES, 

CALLED THE GREAT BOURBON, WHICH IS ABOVE FOUR 
HUNDRED YEARS OLD. 

WHEN France with civil wars was torn, 
And heads, as well as crowns, were shorn 

From royal shoulders, 
One Bourbon, in unalter'd plight, 
Hath still maintain'd its regal right, 
And held its court a goodly sight 

To all beholders. 

Thou, leafy monarch, thou alone, 
Hast sat uninjur'd on thy throne, 

Seeing the war range ; 
And when the great Nassaus were sent 
Crownless away, (a sad event!) 
Thou didst uphold and represent 

The House of Orange. 



94 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

To tell what changes thou hast seen, 

Each grand monarque, and king and queen, 

Of French extraction ; 
Might puzzle those who don't conceive 
French history, so I believe 
Comparing thee with ours will give 

More satisfaction. 



Westminster-Hall,* whose oaken roof, 
The papers say (but that's no proof), 

Is nearly rotten ; 
Existed but in stones and trees 
When thou wert waving in the breeze, 
And blossoms (what a treat for bees!) 

By scores hadst gotten. 

Chaucer, so old a bard that time 

Has antiquated every chime, 

And from his tomb outworn each rhyme 

Within the Abbey ; 
And Gower, an older poet, whom 
The Borough church enshrines, (his tomb, 
Though once restored, has lost its bloom, 

And got quite shabby,) 

Lived in thy time the first perchance 
Was beating monksf when thou in France 

By monks wert beaten, 
Who shook beneath this very tree 
Their reverend beards, with glutton glee, 
As each downfalling luxury 

Was caught and eaten. 



* Rebuilt in 1839. 

t There is a tradition (though not authenticated) that Chaucer was fined 
for beating a friar in Fleet Street. 



ADDRESS TO THE ORANGE TREE. 95 

Perchance, when Henry gain'd the fight 
Of Agin court, some Gaulish Knight, 
(His bleeding steed in woeful plight, 

With smoking haunches,) 
Laid down his helmet at thy root, 
And as he pluck'd the grateful fruit, 
Suffer' d his poor exhausted brute 

To crop thy branches. 

Thou wert of portly size and look, 
When first the Turks besieged and took 

Constantinople ; 

And eagles in thy boughs might perch, 
When, leaving Bullen in the lurch, 
Another Henry changed his church, 

And used the Pope ill. 

What numerous namesakes hast thou seen 
Lounging beneath thy shady green, 

With monks as lazy ; 
Louis Quatorze has pressed that ground, 
With his six mistresses around 
A sample of the old and sound 

Legitimacy. 

And when despotic freaks and vices 
Brought on th' inevitable crisis 

Of revolution, 

Thou heard'st the mobs' infuriate shriek, 
Who came their victim Queen to seek, 
On guiltless heads the wrath to wreak 

Of retribution. 

Oh 1 of what follies, vice and crime, 
Hast thou, in thy eventful time, 
Been made beholder ! 



96 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

What wars, what feuds the thoughts appal 1 
Each against each, and all with all, 
Till races upon races fall 
In earth to moulder. 

Whilst thou serene, unaltered, calm, 
(Such are the constant gifts and balin 

Bestow' d by Nature !) 
Hast year by year renew'd thy flowers, 
And perfumed the surrounding bowel's, 
And pour'd down grateful fruit by showers, 
And proffer'd shade in summer hours 

To man and creature. 

Thou green and venerable tree ! 
Whate'er the future doom may be 

By fortune giv'n, 

Remember that a rhymester brought 
From foreign shores thine umbrage sought, 
Recall'd the blessings thou hadst wrought, 
And, as he thank'd thee, raised his thought 

To heav'n ! 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 

" But who those ruddy lips can miss, 
Which blessed still themselves do kiss." 

How various, delicate, and delightful, are the func- 
tions of the lips ! I purpose not to treat them anato- 
mically, or I might expatiate on the exquisite flexibi- 
lity of those muscles, which by the incalculable modu- 
lations they accomplish, supply different languages to 
all the nations of the earth, and hardly ever fatigue 
the speaker, though they so often prove wearisome to 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 97 

the auditor. Nor shall I dwell upon the opposite im- 
pressions which their exercise is calculated to excite, 
from the ruby mouth of a Corinna, to the lean-lipped 
Xantippe, deafening her hen-pecked mate, or the gruff 
voice of the turnkey who wakes you out of a sound 
sleep, to tell you it is seven o'clock, and you must 
get up directly to be hanged. But I shall proceed at 
once to external beauty, although it must be admitted, 
before I enter into the mouth of my subject, that there 
is no fixed standard of perfection for this feature, 
either in form or colour. Poor Mungo Park, after hav- 
ing turned ,many African women sick, and frightened 
others into fits, by his unnatural whiteness, was once 
assured by a kind-hearted woolly-headed gentleman, 
that though he could not look upon him without an 
involuntary disgust, he only felt the more compassion 
for his misfortune ; and upon another occasion, he 
overheard a jury of matrons debating whether a fe- 
male could be found in any country to kiss such ema- 
ciated and frightful lips. How Noah's grandchildren, 
the African descendants of Ham, came to be black, 
has never yet been satisfactorily explained, and it 
were therefore vain to inquire into the origin of their 
enormous lips, which do not seem better adapted to a 
hot climate than our own ; but there is good reason 
to believe that the ancient Egyptians were as ponder- 
ously provided in this respect as their own bull-god, 
for the Sphinx has a very Nubian mouth, and the 
Mem non's head, so far from giving us the idea of a 
musical king who could compete with Pan or Apollo, 
rather tempts us to exclaim in the language of Dry- 
den 

6 



98 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

"Thou sing with him, thou booby ! never pipe 
"Was so profaned to touch that blubber'd lip." 

A more angular and awkward set of two-legged 
animals seem never to have existed. They must have 
worshipped monkeys on account of their resemblance 
to their own human form divine ; and we cannot attri- 
bute their appearance to the unskilfulness of the artist 
rather than the deformity of the subject, for the draw- 
ings of animals are always accurate, and sometimes ex- 
tremely graceful. 

All this only makes it the more wonderful that Ce- 
crops, by leading a colony from the mouths of the 
Nile to Attica, should found a nation which, to say 
nothing of its surpassing pre-eminence in arts and 
arms, attained in a short period that exquisite propor- 
tion and beauty of form of which they have left us 
memorials in their glorious statues, and have thus eter- 
nally fixed the European standard of symmetry and 
loveliness. The vivid fancy of the Greeks not only 
peopled woods, waves, and mountains with imaginary 
beings, but by a perpetual intermingling of the physi- 
cal and moral world, converted their arms, instruments, 
and decorations into types and symbols, thus elevating 
inanimate objects into a series of hieroglyphics, as they 
had idealized their whole system of mythology into a 
complicated allegory. To illustrate this by recurring 
to the subject of our essay. Many people contemplate 
the classical bow of the ancients without recollecting 
that its elegant shape is supplied originally by Nature, 
as it is an exact copy of the line described by the sur- 
face of the upper lip. It is only by recalling this cir- 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 99 

cumstance that we can fully appreciate that curious 
felicity which appropriated the lip-shaped bow to 
Apollo the god of eloquence, and to Cupid the god of 
love, thus typifying that amorous shaft, which is never 
so powerfully shot into the heart as through the me- 
dium of a kiss. It is in this spirit of occult as well as 
visible beauty that classical antiquity should be felt 
and studied. No upper lip can be pronounced beau- 
tiful unless it have this line as distinctly defined as I 
now see it before me in a sleeping infant. I am sorry 
to be personal towards my readers, particularly those 
of the fair sex, but, my dear Madam, it is useless to 
consult your glass, or complain that the mirrors are 
not half so well made now as they were when you 
were younger. By biting them you may indeed make 
" your lips blush deeper sweets," but you cannot bid 
them display the desiderated outline. Such vain en- 
deavours, like the formal mumbling of prayers, " are 
but useless formalities and lip-labour." Yours are, in 
fact, (be it spoken in a whisper,) what a friend of mine 
denominates sixpenny lips, from their tenuity, and 
maintains them to be indicative of deceit. He, how- 
ever, is a physiognomist, which I am not, or at least 
only to a very modified extent. All those muscles 
which are flexible and liable to be called into action 
by the passions may, I conceive, permanently assume 
some portion of the form into which they are most 
frequently thrown, and thus betray to us the predomi- 
nant feelings of the mind ; but as no emotions can 
influence the collocation of our features, or the fixed 
constituents of our frame, I have no faith in their 
indications. As to the craniologists and others who 



100 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

maintain that we are made angels and devils, not by 
wings at our shoulders or tails at our backs, but by 
the primitive bosses upon our skulls, I recommend 
them a voyage to one of the South Sea islands, where 
they will find the usual diversity of individual charac- 
ter, although all the infants' heads are put into a frame 
at the birth, and compelled to grow up in the shape 
of a sugar-loaf. Not that Spurzheim would be em- 
barrassed by this circumstance. He would only pro- 
nounce from their mitre-like configuration that they 
had the organ of Episcopativeness. 

Nay, Miss, I have not been so absorbed in this lit- 
tle digression, but that I have observed you endea- 
vouring to complete the classical contour of your 
mouth by the aid of lip-salve, as if bees-wax and rouge 
could supply what the plastic and delicate hand of Na- 
ture had failed to impress. Cupid has not stamped 
his bow upon your mouth, yet I swear by those lips 
(I wish you would take a hint from one of our LIT- 
TLE though by no means one of our minor poets, and 
call upon me to kiss the book,) that they are beautiful- 
ly ripe and ruddy, 

" Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, 
And yet an union in partition." 

They are such as Cornelius Gallus loved ; 

" Flammea dilexi, modicumque tumentia labra, 
Quse mihi gustanti basia plena darent :" 

and if any one should object that an Egyptian prsefect 
was a bad judge of beauty, you may safely maintain 
that the elegies which bear his name were in fact com- 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 101 

posed by monks of the middle age, whose competency 
to decide upon such a subject will hardly be disputed. 
Those lips are full and round, but beware of their being 
tempted into a froward expression, for, if 

" Like a misbehaved and sullen wench 
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love," 

I will supply thee with no more eulogiums from either 
monks or prefects. The "slumberous pout" which 
Keats has so delightfully described in his sleeping 
Deity, is the only one which is becoming. 

I see another of my readers mincing up her mouth, 
with that toss of the head and self-satisfied air, which 
assure me that she is a flirt and coquette ; and though 
her lips be ruddy, "as they in pure vermillion had 
been dyed," I entreat her to recollect, that "lips 
though rosy must still be fed," and recommend her 
" to fall upon her knees and thank heaven fasting for 
a good man's love." If she make mouths at me as 
well as at her lovers, and heed not my counsel, I can 
only exclaim, 

" Take, O take those lips away, 
Which so often were forsworn," <fcc., 

and have nothing to thank her for but the recalling 
of those exqusite lines, whether they be Shakspeare's or 
Fletcher's. 

Now, however, I behold a nobler vision hanging 
over and irradiating the page. It is of a lovely nymph, 
in whose looks and lips the bows of Apollo and Cupid 
seem intertwined and indented. She does not simper 



102 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

from affectation, nor smile because it is becoming, nor 
compress her lips to hide a defective tooth, nor open 
them to display the symmetry of the rest; but her 
mouth has that expression which the painter of Bathyl- 
lus, in the Greek Anthology, was instructed to catch, 

"And give his lips that speaking air 
As if a word were hovering there." 

Hers is not of that inexpressive doll-like character, 
which seems to smirk as if it were conscious of its own 
silly prettiness ; nor has she the pouting come-kiss-me 
under-lip of sealing-wax hue which one sees in the 
portraits of Lely and Kneller; but while in the ani- 
mation of her looks intelligence seems to be beaming 
from her eyes, enchantment appears to dwell within 
the ruby portals of her mouth. Its very silence is 
eloquent, for hers are the lips which Apollo loved in 
Daphne, and Cupid in his Psyche, which Phidias 
and Praxiteles have immortalized in marble, and 
which immutable Nature still produces when she is 
in her happiest and most graceful moods. Hers is 
the mouth, in short, which, to use an appropriate 
botanical phrase, conducts us by a natural and de- 
lightful inosculation to the second division, or rather 
union of my subject Kissing. 

This is a very ancient and laudable practice, 
whether as a mark of respect or affection. The Roman 
Emperors saluted their principal officers by a kiss ; and 
the same mode of congratulation was customary upon 
every promotion or fortunate event. Among the same 
people, men were allowed to kiss their female relations 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 103 

on the mouth, that they might know whether they 
smelt of wine or not, as it seems those vaunted dames 
and damsels were apt to make too free with the juice 
of the grape, notwithstanding a prohibition to the con- 
trary. The refinement of manners among these classi- 
cal females was probably pretty much upon a par with 
that depicted in the Beggar's Opera, where Macheath 
exclaims, after saluting Jenny Diver, " One may know 
by your kiss that your gin is excellent." The ancients 
used not only to kiss their dying relations, from a 
strange notion that they should inhale the departing 
soul,* but repeated the salutation when dead, by way 
of valediction ; and finally, when they were laid upon 
the funeral pile. There is no accounting for tastes ; 
but, for my own part, I would rather salute the living ; 
and I even carry my singularity so far as to prefer the 
soft lips of a female, to that mutual presentation of 
bristled cheeks to which one is subject by the customs 
of France. A series of essays has been written on the 
rational recreation of kissing, by John Everard, better 
known as Johannes Secundus, the author of the Basia, 
which has the disgrace of being even more licentious 
than his prototypes, Propertius and Catullus. This 
gentleman held the same situation under the Arch- 
bishop of Toledo, that Gil Bias filled under the Arch- 
bishop of Granada ; but instead of devoting his time 
to the improvement of homilies, he employed himself 

* Plato seems to have thought that this interchange might 
occur among the living, for he says when he kisses his mistress, 

" My soul then flutters to my lip, 
Ready to fly and mix with thine." 



104 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

in describing kisses of every calibre, from the counter- 
part of that bestowed by Petruchio upon his bride, who 

" kist her lips 

With such a clamorous smack, that at the parting 
All the church echo'd" 

to the fond and gentle embrace described by Milton, 
when Adam, gazing upon our first parent in the de- 
licious bowers of Eden 

" in delight 

Both of her beauty and submissive charms 
Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter 
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 
That shed May flowers ; and press'd her matron lip 
With kisses pure." 

Old Ben Jonson, unlike Captain Wattle, preferred 
the taste of his mistress's lip to Sillery or Chateau-Mar- 
gaud, for which we have the authority of his well- 
known song 

" Or leave a kiss within the cup, 
And I'll not ask for wine." 

And Anacreon himself, tippler as he was, did not relish 
his Chian, " had not the lips of love first touched 
the flowing bowl." The poets in general can hardly 
be supposed to have possessed " lips that beauty hath 
seldom bless VI ;" and if they have not always recorded 
this fact, they were probably restrained by the sancti- 
tude of that injunction which orders us not to kiss and 
tell. Yet there ought to be no squeamishness in the 



ON LIPS AND KISSING. 105 

confession, for Nature herself is ever setting us exam- 
ples of cordiality and love, without the least affectation 
of secrecy 



- "This woody realm 



Is Cupid's bower ; see how the trees en wreath 
Their arms in amorous embraces twined ! 
The gurglings of the rill that runs beneath, 
Are but the kisses which it leaves behind, 
While softly sighing through these fond retreats 
The wanton wind woos every thing it meets." 


We may all gaze upon the scene, when, according to 

the poet, 

" The far horizon kisses the red sky," 

or look out upon the ocean 

" When the uplifted waters kiss the clouds." 

There was doubtless an open footpath over that "hea- 
ven-kissing hill," whereon, according to Shakspeare, the 
feathered Mercury alighted ; and there were, probably, 
many enamoured wanderers abroad on that tranquil 
night recorded by the same poet 

"When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees, 
And they did make no noise." 

Even that phlegmatic compound, a pie, has its kissing- 
crust. There is no kissing, indeed, animate or inani- 
mate, that has not its recommendations ; but there is a 
nondescript species, somewhat between both, against 
which I beg to enter my protest I mean the degrading 
5* 



106 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

ceremony of a man made in God's image, kneel- 
ing to kiss the hand of a fellow-mortal at Court, merely 
because that mortal is the owner of a crown and a dis- 
penser of places and titles. Nay, there are inconsistent 
beings who have kissed the foot of the Servant of ser- 
vants at Rome, and yet boggled at performing the ko- 
tou at Pekin, to the Son of the Moon, the Brother of 
the Sun, and the Lord of the Celestial Empire. In- 
stead of complaining at knocking their nobs upon the 
floor before such an august personage, it seemed rea- 
sonable to suppose that they would conjure up in, their 
imaginations much more revolting indignities. Rabe- 
lais, when he was in the suit of Cardinal Lorraine, ac- 
companied him to Rome, and no sooner saw him pros- 
trate before the Pope, and kissing his toe, as customary, 
than he suddenly turned round, shut the door, and 
scampered home. Upon his return, the cardinal asked 
him the meaning of this insult. " When I saw you," 
said Rabelais, " who are my master, and, moreover, a 
cardinal and a prince, kissing the Pope's foot, I could 
not bear to anticipate the sort of ceremony that was 
probably reserved for your servant." 



TO A LOG OF WOOD UPON THE FIRE. 

WHEN Horace, as the snows descended, 
On Mount Soracte, recommended 

That Logs be doubled, 
Until a blazing fire arose, 
I wonder whether thoughts like those 
Which in my noddle interpose 

His fancy troubled. 



TO A LOG OF WOOD UPON THE FIRE. 107 

Poor Log ! I cannot hear thee sigh, 
And groan, and hiss, and see thee die, 

To warm a Poet, 
Without evincing thy success, 
And as thou wanest less and less, 
Inditing a farewell address, 

To let thee know it. 

Peeping from earth a bud unveil'd, 
Some " bosky bourne" or dingle hail'd 

Thy natal hour, 

While infant winds around thee blew, 
And thou wert fed with silver dew, 
And tender sun-beams oozing through 

Thy leafy bower. 

Earth water air thy growth prepared, 
And if perchance some Robin, scared 

From neighbouring manor, 
Perch'd on thy crest, it rock'd in air, 
Making his ruddy feathers flare 
In the sun's ray, as if they were 

A fairy banner. 

Or if some nightingale impress'd 
Against thy branching top her breast 

Heaving with passion, 
And in the leafy nights of June 
Outpour'd her sorrows to the moon, 
Thy trembling stem thou didst attune 

To each vibration. 

Thou grew'st a goodly tree, with shoots 
Fanning the sky, and earth-bound roots 

So grappled under, 

That thou whom perching birds could swing, 
And zephyrs rock with lightest wing, 



108 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

From thy firm trunk unmoved didst fling 
Tempest and thunder. 

Thine offspring leaves death's annual prey, 
Which Herod Winter tore away 

From thy caressing, 

In heaps, like graves, around thee blown, 
Each morn thy dewy tears have strown, 
O'er each thy branching hands been thrown, 

As if in blessing. 

Bursting to life, another race 

At touch of Spring in thy embrace 

Sported and flutter'd ; 
Aloft, where wanton breezes play'd, 
In thy knit-boughs have ringdoves made 
Their nest, and lovers in thy shade 

Their vows have utter'd. 

How oft thy lofty summits won 
Morn's virgin smile, and hail'd the sun 

With rustling motion ; 
How oft in silent depths of night, 
When the moon sail'd in cloudless light, 
Thou hast stood awestruck at the sight> 

In hush'd devotion 

'Twere vain to ask ; for doom'd to fall, 
The day appointed for us all 

O'er thee impended : 
The hatchet, with remorseless blow, 
First laid thee in the forest low, 
Then cut thee into logs and so 

Thy course was ended 

But not thine use for moral rules, 

Worth all the wisdom of the schools, 

Thou may'st bequeath me ; 



LITERARY SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH. 109 

Bidding me cherish those who live 
Above me, and the more I thrive, 
A wider shade and shelter give 
To those beneath me. 

So when death lays his axe to me, 
I may resign as calm as thee 

My hold terrestrial ; 
Like thine my latter end be found 
Diffusing light and warmth around, 
And like thy smoke my spirit bound 

To realms celestial. 



MISS HEBE HOGGINS'S ACCOUNT OF A LITERARY 
SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH. 

LETTER I. 

SIR, You will please to consider the red ink in which 
the commencement of this letter is indited, as emble- 
matic of my blushes, when I make the confession that 
my father is a cooper in Houndsditch ; not that there 
is any thing degrading in the profession, for we have 
poets who have started into celebrity from the inferior 
stations of cowherds, ploughmen, and shoemakers, 
but, alas ! my poor father is not likely to achieve great- 
ness, still less to have it thrust upon him, for he under- 
stands nothing whatever but his business. Determined 
that his own defect of education should not be entailed 
upon his daughter, he sent me to a genteel boarding- 
school at Kensington, where my associates, in the petu- 
lancy of youthful pride, presently assailed me with 
every species of ridicule on account of ray parent's 



110 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

vulgar occupation. One christened him Diogenes, and 
with an air of mock-gravity inquired after his tub ; an- 
other told me I resembled him, inasmuch as I carried a 
hogshead upon my shoulders (which was a gross libel 
upon my physiognomy) ; a third, quoting Addison, ex- 
claimed, 

" Why does he load with darts 

His trembling hands, and crush beneath a casque 
His wrinkled brows ?" 

while a fourth, whenever I ventured to sing, observed 
that I was then in my proper element, as I was favour- 
ing them with a few staves. Nothing reconciled me 
to this spiteful persecution but the superior success with 
which I prosecuted my studies. Mortified vanity stim- 
ulated me to aspire to a higher rank of intellect, as 
some atonement for inferiority of station ; and my 
object was so far attained, that I was enabled to retali- 
ate upon fashionable dunces the sneers and taunts 
which they levelled against city minxes and upstart 
vulgarians. Among my schoolfellows there were seve- 
ral who feared me, and many who refrained from open 
quizzing ; but they all held themselves aloof from any 
intimacy, and I found the pride of surpassing some in 
their studies, and of inflicting pain upon the feelings of 
others whenever my own were attacked, but a poor 
compensation for the unsociableness to which I was 
condemned by their open or suppressed contempt. 
Even this miserable comfort was denied me when I 
left school and was taken home into Houndsditch, for 
my own acquirements only served to render more strik- 
ing, and infinitely more galling, the wretched illiterate- 



LITERARY SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH. Ill 

ness of my parents. Conceive, my dear Mr. Editor, 
the horror of hearing my father, who had yielded to 
my mother's wishes in the selection of a polite semi- 
nary for my studies, inquire whether I had larnt to 
darn stockings and make a pudding ! But even this 
Vandalism was less grating to my soul than the letter 
which my mother wrote a few days after my return, to 
the parent of one of my schoolfellows, inquiring the 
character of a cook, which she thus commenced : 
" Mrs. Hoggins presents her compliments to the Honour- 
able Mrs. Hartopp, as I understand Betty Butter lived 
in your family as cook, Mrs. H begs Mrs. II will 
inform her whether she understands her business, and I 
hope Mrs. H will be particular in stating to Mrs. 
H ," &c. and thus she continued for a whole page, 
confounding first, second, and third persons, and bepuz- 
zling Mrs. H 's in a most astounding commutation of 
initials and individualities. At my earnest solicitation 
this letter was condemned, and a second composed 
which started with this inauspicious exordium : 
" Betty Butter, whom, according to her own account, 
lived two years with you as cook," and proceeded in 
a similar strain of verbs without nominatives, and rela- 
tives with antecedents. This also she consented to 
cancel, not without sundry peevish exclamations against 
the new-fangled English and nonsensical pedantry 
taught at the schools now-a-days, none of which were 
heard of in her time, although the world went on quite 
as well then as it did now. Having tartly reprimanded 
me for my saucy offer of inditing a proper note, she 
took out a new crow-pen, reflected for some minutes 
upon the best method of arranging her ideas, and 



112 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

finally recommenced thus : " Madam, Understanding 
Betty Butter lived with you as cook, has induced me to 
write you these few lines," &c. : and this horrific epistle, 
terminating as awfully as it began, was actually des- 
patched ! O Sir ! imagine the abomination to all my 
grammatical nerves and philological sympathies ! 

From such gothic society I found it absolutely ne- 
cessary to emancipate myself, and I have the pleasure 
to inform you, that after innumerable difficulties and 
delays, from the ignorance of some and the ridicule of 
others, T have succeeded in establishing a Blue-stock- 
ing Society in Houndsditch, which, if I am not much 
mistaken, will eventually rival the most celebrated 
literary associations that have been formed from the 
days of Pericles down to those of Lorenzo de' Medici 
and Dr. Johnson. Considering the soul to be of no sex, 
I have admitted males of undoubted genius into our 
club, and we can already boast of several names that 
only want the means and opportunity to become im- 
mortal. The hitherto Boeotian realm of Houndsditch 
begins to be fertile in classical and Attic associations. 
The Sugar-baker's upon Tower Hill we have consecrated 
to Grecian reminiscences as the Acropolis, and the 
Smoking-room upon its roof is hallowed to our eyes as 
the Parthenon ; the Tower is our Piraeus, and the houses 
on each side of the Minories are the long walls ; Aid- 
gate Pump is the Grotto of Pan ; Whitechapel Church 
is the Ceramicus ; the East India Company's Ware- 
houses in Leadenhall-street are the Temple of Theseus ; 
the extremities of Fen-church-street are the Propylaea ; 
and the Synagogue in Duke's-place the Odeum. Thus 



LITERARY SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH. 113 

you see, Sir, we are upon classic ground in whatever 
direction we move ; while, to complete the illusion, we 
have named the great kennel leading to Tower-hill the 
Ilyssus, and I am credibly assured it is quite as large 
as the original. Our Academus, a room which we have 
hired in Houndsditch. is planted with pots of geranium 
and myrtle, to imitate the celebrated garden of the 
original ; and one of our members, who is a stationer, 
having made us a present of a thick new commercial 
ledger, that odious endorsement has been expunged, 
and the word ALBUM substituted in large letters of gold. 
From this sacred volume, destined to preserve the con- 
tributions of our associates, I propose occasionally to 
select such articles as may stamp a value upon your 
Miscellany, and at the same time awaken the public to 
a due sense of the transcendant talents which have been 
coalesced, principally by the writer of this article, in the 
composition of the Houndsditch Literary Society. 

Young as our establishment is, it is so opulent in 
articles, that the very fertility renders selection impos- 
sible, and I must, after all, open the volume at random, 
and trust to the Sortes Hounditchianae. It expands at 
a sonnet by Mr. M'Quill, a lawyer's clerk, possessing, as 
you will observe, a perfect knowledge of Latin ; and 
though the subject be not very dignified, it is redeemed, 
by his delicacy of handling and felicity of diction, from 
that common-place homeliness with which a less gifted 
bard would have been apt to invest it. He catches 
ideas from his subject by letting it go, and in a vein at 
once facetious and pathetic but I will detain you no 
longer from his beautiful 



114 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



SONNET TO A FLEA, ON SUFFERING IT TO ESCAPE. 

Thou lightly-leaping, flitting Flea ! who knows 

Thou art descended from that sire who fell 
Into the boiling water, when Sir Joseph 

Banks maintain'd it had a lobster's shell ? 
Here, Jemmy Jumps, thou mak'st no stay ; so fly ; 

Shouldst thou rebite thy grandsire's ghost may rise, 
Peep through the blanket of the dark, and cry 

"Hold, hold," in vain : thou fall'st a sacrifice! 

The bard will weep ; yes, fle-bit, he will weep, 
Backbiter as thou art, to make thy sleep 

Eternal, thou who skippest now so gaily ; 
But thou'rt already old, if the amount 
Of thine intercalary days we count, 
For every year with thee is Leap-year. Vale ! 

The next unfolding of our richly-stored repertory 
developes the most important communication we have 
hitherto received, being a serio-comic poem by Mr. 
Schweitzkofter, (the son of the great sugar-baker who 
owns the Acropolis,) entitled " The Apotheosis of Snip." 
Its hero is a tailor, (there's an original idea !) its unity 
is preserved by dividing it into nine cantos ; the super- 
natural machinery is conducted by Atropos, who holds 
the fatal shears, and Vertumnus, the god of cabbage ; 
and the victim of Michaelmasday, instead of the bird 
Minerva, is invoked to shed a quill from its pinion, and 
inspire the imagination of the poet. Mr. Schweitzkofter 
appears to me destined to assume a rank superior to 
Rabelais, and at least equal to Butler ; but as I propose 
to make copious selections from his facetious epic, I 
leave your readers to decide what niche he ought to 



LITERARY SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH. 115 

occupy in the Temple of Immortality. In the following 
description of morning in London, he appears to have 
Marmion in his eye ; but without any servile imitation, 
he has contrived to unite an equally graphic fidelity of 
delineation, with a more sustained illustration and im- 
pressive sentimentality than are to be found in the ad- 
mired original : 

Day rose o'er Norton Falgate high, 
And Sol, like Tom of Coventry, 

On many a nude was peeping; 
The chimneys smokeless and erect, 
And garret windows patch'd and check'd, 
The prentice-rousing ray reflect ; 

While those within them sleeping 

Reflect that they must stretch their legs. 

And bundle out, and stir their pegs, 
Or else, as sure as eggs are eggs, 

Their masters, strict and wary, 
With rattling bells will overhaul 'em, 
Or, may be, rise themselves to call 'em 

Up with a sesserary ! 

Pendant on dyer's pole afloat, 
Loose pantaloon and petticoat 
Seem on each other's charms to doat, 

Like lovers fond and bland ; 
Now swelling as the breezes rise, 
They flout each other in the skies, 
As if, conjoin'd by marriage ties, 

They fought for th' upper hand. 
Beneath with dirty face and fell, 
Timing his footsteps to a bell, 

The dustman saunter'd slowly, 
Bawling "Dust-0 !" with might and main, 
Or humming in a lower strain, 

" Hi ho, says Rowley !" 



116 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



Now at shop- windows near and far 

The prentice-boys alert 
Fold gently back the jointed bar, 
Then sink the shutter with a jar 

Upon the ground unhurt ; 
While some, from perforated tin, 
Sprinkle the pavement with a grin 

Of indolent delight, 
As poising on extended toe, 
Their circling arm around they throw, 
And on the stony page below 

Their frolic fancies write. 
What poems praised and puff' d, have just 
Like these kick'd up a mighty dust, 
But wanting the impressive power 
To stamp a name beyond the hour, 
Have soon become forgotten, mute, 
Effaced, and trodden under foot! 

In future communications I shall send you some 
more tid-bits from our feast of intellect; but, as we 
have a meeting this evening to ballot for the admission 
of Miss Caustic, the apothecary's daughter (whom I 
mean to blackball), I have only time to add that I have 
discarded my baptismal name of Harriet, as inappro- 
priate and unclassical, and shall henceforth acknowledge 
no other appellation than that of Hebe Hoggins. 



THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM. 

n. 

Second Letter from Miss Hebe Hoggins. 

Miss CAUSTIC, I am sorry to say, is elected a member 
of our society, in spite of my blackball, and has already 





THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM. 11 7 

begun to gratify her envy, hatred, and malice. Mr. 
Skinner, the tanner, of Norton Falgate, has undertaken 
a poem of the most comprehensive and daring kind, 
entitled " The Creation," Avhich promises completely to 
eclipse Sir Richard Blackmore's, and of which the head- 
ings of the different chapters are already composed. 
We are told, exclaimed Miss Caustic, after reading the 
plan of this noble work, that at the creation every thing 
was made out of nothing, but it appears to me, that 
this author has made nothing of every thing. In an- 
swer to my observation, that Mr. Schweitzkoffer's ver- 
ses were destined to immortality, she cried with a sneer 
" Yes, because he writes them to no end ;" and when 
an erudite sonnet of Mr. M'Quill's was pronounced to 
smell of the lamp, she peevishly whispered " Ay, it 
would smell of the fire if it were treated as it deserves." 
But the chief object of her illnatured ridicule is a lite- 
rary phenomenon whom I am patronizing, a g'enius of 
the. first order, although at present in the humble occu- 
pation of carman to Messrs. Tierce and Sweetman, gro- 
cers in WhitechapeL This prodigy, if I be not grievous- 
ly mistaken, will speedily eclipse all the Bristol milk- 
womeii, fanners' boys, Ettrick shepherds, Northampton- 
shire peasants, and Dumfries stonecutters, that ever burst 
their bonds, and set themselves to work with their heads 
instead of their hands ; and yet the members of our 
club make him the subject of their jealous banter and 
illiberal sarcasm, venting their misplaced jokes upon 
his employment, which constitutes his principal claim 
to admiration. Miss Caustic observes that he will be 
able to drive a good bargain with the booksellers, and 
that, as he goes every morning to take orders, he will 



118 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

be soon qualified for the living of Horselydown, or the 
curacy of Whitehall, in which case he would be quite 
at home in the Stable-yard ; but Mr. M'Quill suggests 
that he may be one of Horace's Carmen Seculare, and 
of course ineligible to spiritual dignities, although by 
the nails in his shoes he seems already to be of the or- 
der of Pegasus. This gentleman sneeringly calls him 
the philosopher Descartes, and at other times terms him 
my Lord Shaftsbury ; observing that his bad grammar 
is one of his Characteristics. Even Mr. SchweitzkofFer, 
who ought to have been superior to such vulgar rail- 
lery, anticipates that his wit will be attic, because he 
must always have dwelt in garrets, and have frequently 
been to Grease, unless his wheels were scandalously neg- 
lected. 

My bosom beat high at the interesting moment 
when I first introduced him to our Academus that he 
might recite one of his poems, and I felt assured that 
he would make these jeerers ashamed of their witti- 
cisms, which, after all, were nothing but a string of mis- 
erable puns. He appeared with his whip in his hand, 
to which instant exception was taken, as completely re- 
versing the established order of things, and the custo- 
mary relation between poets and critics, it being exclu- 
sively reserved to Lord Byron to lash his reviewers. 
Mr. M'Quill accordingly went up Jo him, and exclaiming 
"Parce, puer, stimulis," took the instrument from 
him, and deposited it on the table. George Crump, for 
that is the name of the phenomenon, then drew a pa- 
per from his pocket, and very unaffectedly began by 
scratching his skull, at which an ignorant titter was 
heard, and Miss Caustic, addressing herself to me, flip- 



THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM. 119 

pantly cried " Well, I am agreeably disappointed, for 
I begin to think the man really has something in his 
head." A young lady by her side hinted that he was 
only pulling out verses with his nails, as a skull, like any 
other territory, must be ploughed to make it produc- 
tive : but I silenced these stupid sarcasms, by informing 
the sneerers that this species of application is particu- 
larly recommended to authors by Aretseus, and is a re- 
corded poetical practice of such high antiquity, that it 
is presumed to have suggested the mythological allegory 
of Jupiter wounding his head in order to let out Mi- 
nerva. 

Mr. Crump having cleared his throat by a loud 
Hem ! and spit upon the ground, at which Miss Caustic 
affected a ridiculous disgust, began with a loud voice to 
read his 

EVENING, AN ELEGY. 

Apollo now, Sol's carman, drives his stud 
Home to the Mews that's seated in the West, 

And Customs' clerks, like him, through Thames-street mud, 
Now westering wend, in Holland trowsers dress'd. 

So from the stands the empty carts are dragg'd, 

The horses homeward to their stables go, 
And mine, with hauling heavy hogsheads fagg'd, 

Prepare to "taste the luxury of Wo!" 

Now from the slaughter-houses cattle roar, 

Knowing that with the morn their lives they yields^ 

And Mr. Sweetman's gig is at the door, 

To take him to his house in Hackney Fields. 

Closed are the gates of the West India Docks, 
Rums, Sugars, Coffee, find at length repose, 

And I, with other careless carmen, flocks 

To the King's Head, the Chequers, or the Rose. 



120 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

They smoke a pipe the shepherd's pipe I wakes, 
Them skittles pleases me the Muse invites, 

They in their ignorance to drinking takes, 

I, bless'd with learning, takes a pen and writes. 

Here there was such an unmannerly burst of laughter 
that Mr. Crump was unable to proceed, and several 
voices at once declared that it would be disreputable to 
the society to admit such ungrammatical compositions 
into their Album. Senseless objection ! These are the 
very evidences of their genuineness, and I would no 
more have them removed, than would Martinus have 
wished to scrub the precious aerugo from the brazen 
shield, and invest it with a new polish. When Mr. Ca- 
pel Lofft told us that he had merely corrected a few 
verbal inaccuracies in Bloomfield's early productions, 
their charm was at once broken ; for we knew not the 
extent of these revisions, and what was wonderful in a 
peasant would have been poor enough in a gentleman. 
As to Miss Caustic's assertion, that Mr. Crump inquired 
of her whether Mount ^Etna was to be spelt with a 
whipthong, (meaning diphthong,) 1 believe it to be a 
spiteful fabrication ; and as to her pretended regret, that 
he would no longer be able to drive his cart straightfor- 
ward, because I had completely turned his head, I con- 
sider it a mere impertinence. To the thoughts and de- 
scriptive parts of his elegy no objections can be urged; 
it is obvious that he paints from the life, and the allu- 
sion to the regular appearance of his master's gig at the 
door, so perfectly in accord with the punctual habits of 
that respectable tradesman, is a felicity of local truth 
which must come home to the bosom of the most care- 
less reader. However, jealousy of a rising luminary 



THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM. 12] 

prevailed ; the remainder of the elegy, declared to be 
inadmissible, has gone to join the lost books of Livy 
and the missing comedies of Terence, and I esteem my- 
self happy to have preserved the exordium, which I 
now confidently present to a candid and judicious 
public. 

In casting my eye over our Album, I venture to ex- 
tract the following epigram and epitaph, from the pen 
of Mr. Skinner the Tanner : 

Here lies my dear wife, a sad vixen and shrew ; 
If I said I regretted her, I should lie too. 

Were the subject of this inscription a stranger, I 
should scruple to circulate this couplet ; but, as she was 
a particular friend of mamma's, who declares the char- 
acter to be strictly merited, I hesitate not to give it pub- 
licity. 

From Mr. Schweitzkoffers's serio-comic epic, " The 
Apotheosis of Snip," of which I promised you further 
extracts, I select for my present communication the de- 
scription of the hero. 

" His lank and scanty hair was black, 
His visage sallow, and his back 

As broad and strong as Plato's ; 
His grey eye on his face so wan, 
Look'd like an oyster spilt upon 

A dish of mash'd potatoes. 
In shape his phiz was like a river, 
Which at the mouth is broadest ever. 
His teeth were indurated sloes ; 
Then he'd a nose oh, such a nose ! 
It was not certainly so bad 
As that which Slawkenbergius had, 

6 



122 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Nor that recorded by the poet 

Whose owner could riot reach to blow it ; 

No, that was Ossa to a wart, 

For this was just as much too short. 

What was it like ? why nothing, save 

The mutilated Sphinx Egyptian, 
So flatten'd, that it neither gave 

Handle for blowing nor description. 
I know not what to call a snout 

Described before by no man, 
But if it had been turn'd about, 

It would have been a Roman. 
In short, 'twas like the knave of clubs, 
The very snubbiest of the snubs. 

Although there was a cavity 
Where his proboscis ought to be, 
Yet dirt beneath said, plain enough 
' This is the House of Call for snuff, 
And witnesseth by this indenture, 
That nasal attributes are meant here.' 
Such was his face his form was what 
Is term'd in vulgar parlance squat. 
Compared to him, so plain, so wan, 

Such dumpy legs, and bow knees, 
A Satyr was Hyperion, 

And Buckhorse an Adonis." 

As conjugal portraits should be always hung up in 
couples, I send you the drawing of his wife, with which 
I shall conclude at present, in the full assurance that the 
delineation of so tempting a creature will excite an in- 
tense curiosity for a further development of her charms 
in future communications. 



THE CONVERSAZIONE. 123 

" His rib (to judge by length alone, 
I ought to call her his back-bone,) 4 

Tall as a Maypole ran, 
Two feet of which alarming space 
Were dedicated to her face 

(Her chin was full a span) ; 
Nay, no incredulous grimaces, 
This is the age for length'ning faces. 
Her eyes were always running o'er, 
And the two squinting balls they bore, 
As if afraid of being wet, 
Beneath her nose's bridge would get. 
So fond were they of this inversion, 

That they were always in eclipse, 

Save when on pleasurable trips 
They popp'd out on a short excursion. 
Her meagre sandy hair was frizzly, 
And her appearance gaunt and grizzly." 



THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM. 

Third Letter from Miss Hebe Hoggins. 
THE CONVERSAZIONE. 

CADMUS had not greater difficulty in civilizing his Boeo- 
tians, than I have found in introducing a comparative 
gentility to our domestic circle in Houndsditch, although 
I have finally succeeded as far as the nature of the 
obstacles will admit. An unconditional assent has been 
given to three articles in which I was personally in- 
terested : I am to put on a white gown every day, not 
to go to afternoon church on a Sunday, and never to 
wear pattens. My father, after a severe struggle, has 



124 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

consented to exchange his bobwig for a fashionable 
crop ; and my mother has conformed to all the external 
modifications I could wish, though she remains incurably 
afflicted with that infirmity of speech to which Mrs. 
Malaprop was subject. Upon questions of grammar we 
are perpetually at variance, for I am so often in the 
accusative case that Mrs. Hoggins cannot keep out of 
the imperative mood, and not unfrequently interrupts 
me with exclamations of " Psha ! child, don't worret 
one so ; I wonder you are not ashamed of yourself; I 
knew nothing of genders and conjunctions when I was 
your age, but I thinks girls talks of every thing now-a- 
days." As to mending her cacophony (as my Lord 
Duberly &ays), it is a hopeless attempt ; silence is the 
only corrective, and to this alternative I was particularly 
anxious to reduce her last night, when I obtained her 
consent to my giving a literary conversazione, which I 
am happy to say passed off with the greatest possible 
success and 6clat. 

Exclusively of the members of our society, some of the 
most celebrated characters in the world of letters honoured 
our coterie. The gentleman who wrote the last pantomime 
for one of our minor theatres, distinguished himself by 
some excellent practical jokes, which he played off with 
infinite adroitness. Mr. Grope, index-maker to one of 
the first publishers in the Row, astonished us by the 
alphabetical accuracy of his genius ; Mr. Grub, who 
inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine a most interesting 
account of a Roman tooth-pick, dug up at the mouth of 
the Thames, was profound in antiquarian research ; Miss 
Sphinks, who writes all the charades and rebuses for the 
Lady's Pocket-book, captivated the company with some 



THE CONVERSAZIONE. 125 

capital conundrums ; while we were all highly delighted 
with the caustic satire and biting irony of Mr. Fungus, 
a young man of great future celebrity, who, not having 
completed his studies, has not yet attained the art of 
writing books, and therefore contents himself for the 
present with reviewing them. 

It is well known that absence of mind has been an 
invariable accompaniment of genius, and it is therefore 
not without complacency that I record a ludicrous in- 
cident arising from one of those fits of literary abstrac- 
tion to which I have been recently subject. While 
presiding at the tea-table I inadvertently substituted a 
canister of my father's snuff for the caddy, infusing 
eight large spoonfuls of the best Lundy Foot into the 
tea-pot ; nor did I discover my mistake until the wry 
faces, watery eyes, and incessant sneezing of the com- 
pany, were explained by Papa's angry exclamation 
"Why, drat it! the girl's betwitch'd I'll be hang'd if 
she hasn't wasted half-a-pound of my best Lundy Foot 
upon" these confounded ." A violent fit of sneez- 
ing fortunately prevented the completion of the sentence, 
and as I made good haste to repair my error by tender- 
ing him a cup (which he will persist in calling a dish) 
of genuine souchong, by the time he had done wiping 
his eyes and blowing his nose, he suffered himself to be 
pacified. Despatching as rapidly as possible this repast 
of the body, I hastened to the feast of reason, which I 
began by reciting a little song of my own composition, 
entitled 

Forgetful Cupid. 

A rose one morning Cupid took, 

And fill'd the leaves with vows of love, 



126 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

When zephyr passing fann'd the book, 
And wafted oaths and leaves above. 

Seizing his dart, the god then traced 

Pledges to Psyche in the sand ; 
But soon the refluent tide effaced 

The fleeting record of his hand. 

Quoth Psyche, " From your wing I '11 take 
Each morn a plume, and you another, 

With which new pledges we will make, 
And write love-letters to each other." 

Cries Cupid, " But if every pen 

Be used in writing oaths to stay, 
What shall I do for pinions, when 

I want them both to fly away ? " 

I frankly admitted that I thought the flow of these 
verses somewhat Moore-ish, and observed that they 
adapted themselves happily to one of the Irish Melo- 
dies ; when I overheard Miss Caustic whisper to her 
neighbour, that if I was correct as to the metre, there 
wanted nothing but different words and sentiments to 
make it really very like Moore. "Envy does merit 
like its shade pursue," and we all know Miss Caustic's 
amiable propensities. If I were to require her to write 
a better, before she presumed to criticize my production, 
I fancy she would be condemned to a pretty long 
silence. 

Mr. Scribbleton, a multifarious operator for the the- 
atres, particularly in getting up farces, next favoured us 
with a comic song, which he assured us was the easiest 
thing in the world to compose, as it was only to take 
a story from Joe Miller, versify it, and add a little non- 



THE CONVERSAZIONE. 127 

sense by way of chorus, and he had never known the 
experiment fail. He relied confidently on a double en- 
core for the following, inserted in a forthcoming piece, 
put into the mouth of a Yorkshireman. 

THE SMOKY CHIMNEY. 

Gripe's chimney were smother'd wi' soot and wi' smoke, 

But I won't pay for sweeping, he mutter' d : 
So he took a live goose to the top gave a poke, 
And down to the bottom it flutter'd. 
Hiss, flappity! hiss, flappity! 
Flappity, flappity, hiss! 

"Wauns ! how cruel, cries one says another, I'm shock'd 

Quoth Gripe, I'm asham'd on't, adzooks ; 
But I'll do so no more. So the next time it smoked, 
He popp'd down a couple of ducks : 
Quaak, flippity! quaak, flappity! 
Flippity, flappity, quaak ! 

At my earnest solicitation, Mr. Schweitzkoffer next 
recited some farther extracts from " The Apotheosis of 
Snip." This hero is conducted to the Dandelion Tea 
Gardens, formerly established in the vicinity of Mar- 
gate, where he delivers a political harangue, which a 
part of the company receive in dudgeon, while others 
supporting the orator, a pelting of stones and general 
combat ensue, of which the particulars are thus humor- 
ously detailed. 

Not with more dire contention press'd 
The Greeks and Trojans, breast to breast, 
When, brandish'd o'er Patroclus dead, 
Gleam'd many a sword and lance, 



128 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

And from their flashing contact shed 

Light on his pallid countenance, 
Than did these Dandelion wights, 
Rivals of Greek and Trojan knights, 
Who all as thick and hot as mustard, 
O'er Snip, the prostrate, fought and bluster'd. 

Nor was that combat so prolific 

Of doleful yells and screams terrific ; 

Tho' wounded, scorn'd to whine or squeak, 

For Trojan stout and stubborn Greek, 

While those who were from wounds most safe 

Did here most clamorously chafe. 

Mothers, aunts, sisters, nieces, grannies, 

Always more voluble than man is, 

Might here, by their commingled gabble, 

Have stunned the chatterers of Babel, 

As if their warriors made their doxies 

Their vocal deputies and proxies, 

And by their better halves confess' d 

The feelings they themselves suppressed 

As when a bagpipe's squeezed behind, 

It squeaks by pipe to which 'tis join'd. 

Questions, calls, cries, and interjections, 
Were intermixed in all directions ; 
Where's Jacky, Harry, Ned, and Billy ? 
Come hither, Tummas, or they'll kill ye ! 
Good gracious! where is Mr. Wiggins? 
Mamma, we can't find uncle Spriggins. 
Dear me ! that lady's in a swound : 
Well, ma'am, you needn't tear one's gownd. 
Jacky, do you take care of Polly. 
O heavens ! there's another volley ! 
Mr. Stubbs ! what shall I do ? 
Has any lady found a shoe ? 
Sally's lace veil is gone, I vow 
I'll take my oath 'twas here just now. 



THE CONVERSAZIONE. 129 

Why do you stare at me, good madam ? 
I know no more of it than Adam. 
Why see, you thoughtless little fool, 
You popp'd it in your ridicule. 

I shall ne'er survive the squeedge I 
A smelling-bottle would obleege. 

1 vow I feel quite atmospheric : 
Salts! salts! she's in a strong hysteric! 

that a person of my station 
Should be exposed to such flustration ! 
You haven't, madam, seen Sir John ? 
Where is my stupid coachman gone ? 
Well, goodness me, and lackadaisy ! 
I'm sure the people must be crazy. 
What do you mean, ma'am, by this riot ? 
Mean ? why you've almost poked my eye out. 
Those parasols are monstrous sharp. 

Ma, that's the man as play'd the harp. 
Well, this is Dandelion, is it ? 

1 shan't soon make another visit. 

George Crump, the inspired carman, of whose original 
Muse I have already furnished interesting specimens, 
having completed a poem entitled " The Skittle Ground," 
with the exception of the introductory stanzas, applied 
to me for that difficult portion ; and as I was very sure 
that he would never imitate the discourteousness of Dr. 
Darwin, who received a similar contribution from Miss 
Seward, and prefixed it to his Botanic Garden without 
the smallest acknowledgment, I resolved to gratify his 
wish, running over in my mind the opening lines of the 
most celebrated epics. Virgil's " Arma virumque cano" 
Tasso's "Canto Parme pietose" Ariosto's "Canto 
le Donne e' i Cavalieri" Milton's " Of man's first dis- 
obedience, and the fruit," with many other initiatory 
6* 



130 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



verses, occurred to my recollection ; but Mr. Crump, 
having intimated at our conversazione that he had 
himself hit upon a happy exordium, I obtained silence, 
when he recited the following four lines as his proposed 
commencement, assuring us that the fact corresponded 
with his statement, which he considered a most auspi- 
cious augury. 

While playing skittles, ere I took my quid, 
The Muses I invoked my work to crown ; 

"Descend, ye Nine I" I cried, and so they did, 
For in a trice I knock'd the nine pins down 1 

It was my intention to have furnished some farther 
poetical flowers from the literary garland woven at this 
interesting Symposium, but the recollection of an inci- 
dent which occurred towards the end of the entertain- 
ment actually paralyzes my faculties, and makes the 
pen flutter in my hand. My father, who is passion- 
ately fond of whist, had stipulated for a table in one 
corner of the room ; and for the purpose of tenanting it, 
had invited four or five humdrum neighbours, who 
could only be called men of letters in the postman's 
sense of the phrase, although they were perfectly com- 
petent to go through the automatical movements of 
shuffling, cutting, and dealing. After the rubber had 
been played once over in faet, and twice in subsequent 
discussion, they prepared to depart, and I heard the 
announcement of their servant's arrival with a pleasure 
that I could ill conceal. " Mrs. Waddle's maid and 
umbrella !" sounded up the stairs, and the corpulent 
old lady slowly obeyed the summons. " Miss Clacket's 
pattens stop the way !" was the next cry ; and her 



- 

THE CONVERSAZIONE. 131 

shrill voice, still audible from below, continued without 
ceasing till the hall door closed upon her clangour. 
" Mr. Wheeze's boy and lantern !" followed ; when the 
worthy oilman, having put on two great coats, and tied 
as many handkerchiefs round his throat, coughed him- 
self out of the house, wishing that he was well over 
Tower Hill, on his way to Ratcliffe. Mrs. Dubb's shop- 
man same to claim the last of this quartetto of quizzes ; 
and I was just congratulating myself on the prospect of 
renewing our feast of intellect, free from the interrup- 
tions of uncongenial souls, when my father, running up 
to the table, cried out " Well, now let's see what card- 
money they have left." So saying, he looked under 
one of the candlesticks, took up a shilling, bit it, rung 
it upon the table, and exclaiming, " Zounds ! it's a bad 
one it's Mrs. Dubbs's place Hallo ! Mrs. Dubbs, this 
won't do though, none of your raps " rushed hastily 
out of the room. After two or three minutes passed 
by me in silent horror, he re-entered, nearly out of 
breath, ejaculating, as he spun another shilling with his 
finger and thumb "Ay, ay, this will do; none of 
your tricks upon travellers, Mrs. Dubbs : a rank Brum- 
magem !" 

Miss Caustic began the titter but I can describe no 
farther. I fell into as complete a state of defaillance as 
the subject of Sappho's celebrated ode my blood tingled, 
my eyes swam, " my ears with hollow murmurs rang ;" 
and yet this fainting of the mind did not afford any re- 
lief to the shame and mortification that overwhelmed 
the too refined and sensitive bosom of 

HEBE HOGGINS. 



132 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 

" When I said I would die a Bachelor, I did not think I should live till 
I were married. 

" A miracle ! here's our own hands againsts our hearts." 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 

SOME people have not the talent, some have ngt the 
leisure, and others do not possess the requisite industry, 
for keeping a private diary or journal ; and yet there 
is probably no book which a man could consult with 
half so much advantage as a record of this sort, if it 
presented a faithful transcript of the writer's fluctuating 
feelings and opinions. If, instead of comparing our 
own mind with others, which is the process of common 
reading, we were to measure it with itself at different 
periods, as exhibited in our memorandum book, we should 
learn a more instructive humility, a more touching lesson 
of distrust in ourselves and indulgence towards our neigh- 
bours, than could be acquired by poring over all the 
ethics and didactics that ever were penned. As a mere 
psychological curiosity, it must be interesting to observe 
the advancement of our own mind ; still more so to 
trace its caprices and contrasts. Changes of taste and 
opinion are generally graduated by such slow and im- 
perceptible progressions, that we are unconscious of the 
process, and should hardly believe that our former 
opinions were diametrically opposed to our present, did 
not our faithful journal present them to our eyes on 
the incontestable evidence of our own handwriting. 
Personal identity has been disputed on account of the 
constant renewal of our component atoms : few people, 



ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 133 

I think, will be disposed to maintain the doctrine of 
mental identity, when I submit to them the following 
alter et idem, being a series of extracts from the same 
journal, registered in perfect sincerity of heart at the 
time of each inscription, and the whole not spread over 
a wider space of time than a few consecutive months. 
Into the cause of my perpetual and glaring discrepan- 
cies, it is not my purpose to enter ; this is a puzzle that 
may serve to exercise the ingenuity of your readers. 

ANTE-NUPTIAL. 

I hate Blondes ; white-faced horses and women are 
equally ugly ; the " blue-eyed daughters of the North," 
like the other bleached animals of the same latitude, are 
apt to be very torpid, sleepy, and insipid, rarely exhibit- 
ing much intellect or piquancy. They remind one of 
boiled mutton without caper-sauce, or water-gruel with- 
out wine or brandy. Every one thought the Albinos 
frightful, and yet people pretend to admire fair women. 
Brunettes are decidedly handsomer what is a snow- 
scene compared to the rich and various colouring of an 
autumnal landscape ! They have a moral beauty 
about them ; their eyes sparkle with intelligence, they 
possess fire vivacity genius. A Brunette Sawney 
is as rare as a tortoise-shell tom-cat. There is, however, 
a species of complexion which nature accomplishes in 
her happier moods, infinitely transcending all others. 
I mean a clear transparent olive, through whose soft 
and lucid surface the blood may be almost seen cours- 
ing beneath, while the mind seems constantly shining 
through and irradiating the countenance. It is gene- 



134 GAIETIES AND GRAV1T1KS. 

rally found accompanied by dark silky hair, small regu- 
lar features, and a sylph-like form approximating some- 
what to the Lascar ? No. To the Spanish ? No : 

but to the description which Ovid gives us of Sappho, 
and to the species of beauty that imagination assigns to 
the fascinating Cleopatra. My dear Julia exactly rep- 
resents this kind of loveliness. I am certainly a lucky 
fellow in having secured the promise of her hand. She 
possesses animation and briskness, without any of that 
unamiable tendency to domineer which so many lively 
females exhibit, and has a good portion of reading and 
talent without affecting the blue-stocking. It is a bad 
thing to be over-wifed, like poor Frank Newhenham, 
who has nothing to do with the laws of his own house 
but to obey them. Better to have no appointment 
than get a place under petticoat government. 

Determined on sending in my resignation to Brookes's 
and Arthur's, as well to the Alfred and Union. Hercu- 
les gave up his club when he married Dejanira, and all 
good husbands should follow his example. The increase 
of these establishments a bad sign : our wives and ho- 
tel-keepers must associate together, for they seem to be 
deserted by the rest of the world. Astonishing that 
men should prefer politics and port-wine in a club-room, 
to the converse of a beautiful woman at home. Sub- 
stituting Julia for Lesbia, I am ready to exclaim with 
Catullus, in his imitation of Sappho, 

Ille mi par esse Deo videtur, 
Hie si fas est, snperare Divos, 
Qui sedens adversns identidem te 

Spectat, et audit 
Dulce ridentem. 



ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 135 

Saw Lady Madeleine at the Opera, looking fat, florid, 
and Sphynx-like. It is the fashion to call her a fine 
creature so is the prize ox : for the modesty which 
others assign to her, read mauvaise honte. If people 
admire by the square foot, they can hardly over-rate her 
merits ; but for my own part I would rather marry a 
Patagonian milk-maid. 

Went to Richmond sate upon the grass in front 
of the house formerly belonging to Whitshed Keene, 
and gazed upon the moon, thinking all the while of 
Julia, until I became so melancholy, romantic, and 
poetical, as actually to perpetrate the following 

STANZAS. 

Sweet is the sadness of the night, 

And dear her silent reign, 
And pleasant is her mournful light, 

To those who love in vain. 

To yon pale moon that o'er me soars, 

Which dim through tears I see, 
E'en now perchance my Julia pours 

Her fervent vows for me. 

The breeze, whose plaints from yonder glade 

In whispering murmurs rise, 
Perchance around her lips has play'd, 

And breathes my Julia's sighs. 

By day her fancied presence seems 

To chase each tear away, 
Then stay to soothe my troubled dreams 

Stay, dearest vision, stay ! 



136 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Why I should describe myself as loving in vain, and 
looking through tears, making Julia, who was that night 
engaged to a ball at Almack's, sympathize in my dis- 
tress, may seem odd ; but I recollected that all great 
poets are melancholy, and that " the course of true love 
never does run smooth," when you are soliloquizing the 
moon. I protest I think the lines very melifluous and 
heart-rending, and altogether LadyVMagazinish. My 
darling Julia tells me she doats upon poetry ; so do I, 
especially the elegiac, when hit off by a master's hand. 
Mem. : show her my verses to-morrow. 

My dear Julia, I am happy to find, is equally fond 
of the country, and devoted to music and domestic 
pleasures. In fact, her taste and opinions seem gene- 
rally to agree with mine. She is certainly a woman of 
superior good sense. Delighted to observe that she is 
so much pleased with my rattling friend Compton, and 
thinks Harvey a gentlemanly good-looking man. It is 
always pleasant when one's bachelor companions prove 
acceptable to one's wife. 

Was introduced to my beloved Julia's uncle, Mr. 
Jackson, a nabob, who gave me a receipt for bile, and 
told me a famous story of a tiger -hunt at Calcutta ; a 
pleasant chatty man. His wife rather in the style of 
the Hottentot than the Medici Venus, but genteel in her 
manners ; the three daughters pleasing interesting girls, 
and one of them good-looking. 

Sent Nimrod to TattersaPs, as I mean to give up 
hunting. Bad enough for bachelors to risk their necks 
by galloping after a poor inoffensive hare ; preposter- 
ous in married men. Sold my Joe Manton and patent 
percussion gun to Compton, as I flatter myself I shall 



ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 137 

be better employed in the society of my amiable Julia, 
than in wading through mud and snow to destroy par- 
tridges and pheasants. Besides, going out with a friend 
upon these occasions by no means implies your return- 
ing with him, as he is very apt to miss the birds and 
shoot you. If you go alone two alternatives await you : 
in getting over a style a twig unfortunately catches the 
lock of your piece, and lodges its' contents in your kid- 
neys ; or your favourite spaniel makes a point of put- 
ting his paw upon your trigger, and in the ardour of 
his fondling blows out your brains. Sportsmen should 
really devise some new mode of death ; these are quite 
hackneyed. Julia much pleased when I told her my 
intentions ; she particularly objected to hunting, on ac- 
count of its expense. She is decidedly economical, 
which is a great comfort. 

Julia being engaged with her uncle Jackson, I spent 
the evening alone by my own fire-side ; very bilious 
and hippish. Dr. Johnson is quite right ; a married 
man has many cares, but a single one has no pleasures. 
What a solitary forlorn wretch is the latter in misery 
and sickness ! Some years ago there was an account 
in the papers of a respectable old bachelor, in Gray's 
Inn, who after several months' disappearance was found 
dead in his chambers, half eaten up by bluebottle flies. 
Conceive the idea of a man's being forgotten by his 
friends and remembered by the bluebottles ! 1 never 
see one of these flying Benedict-eaters without wishing 
myself fairly married ; their buzzing in my ear seems to 
echo the Epithalamium of Manlius to my Julia's name- 
sake 



138 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

lo, Hymen Hymenaee, io ! 
lo, Hymen Hymenaee ! 

Next week my adorable Julia is to become mine for 
ever, and if I know any thing of myself, Jack Egerton 
will be the happiest man in the world. Can't say I 
like the ceremonial rather lugubrious and solemn. 
Parents looking dolorous sisters and cousins crying 
bride ready to faint nobody comfortable but the cler- 
gyman and clerk. Compton says, it is very like going 
to be hanged, and observes, that there is only the differ- 
ence of an aspirate between altar and halter, a bad 
joke, like all the other sorry witticisms launched against 
women and marriage. Satirists of the sex are either dis- 
appointed men, or fools, or mere inventors of calumny. 
Pope confesses, in the advertisement to his Satires, that 
none of the characters are drawn from real life. He 
that lives single, says St. Paul, does well, but he that 
marries does better. St. Paul was a wise man. 

POST-NUPTIAL. 

Heigho ! three months elapsed without a single 
entry in my journal. What an idle fellow I have be- 
come, or rather what a busy one, for I have been in a 
perpetual bustle ever since the expiration of the honey- 
moon. By the by, nothing can be more ill-judged than 
our custom of dedicating that period to rural sequestra- 
tion, that we may do nothing but amuse one another, 
while it generally ends in our tiring one another to 
death. Remember reading of a pastrycook, who al- 
ways gave his apprentices a surfeit of tarts, when first 
they came, to insure their subsequent indifference. 



ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 139 

Very well for him, but a dangerous conjugal experi- 
ment. Godwin mentions in his Memoirs of Mary, 
that they alienated themselves from one another every 
morning, that instead of mutually exhausting their 
minds, they might have almost always something new 
to impart, by which means they met with pleasure and 
parted with regret. Most people reverse the process. 
In England, if a man is seen with his wife perpetually 
dangling on his arm, it is a dispensation from all other 
observances ; let him do what he will, he has a reputa- 
tion for all the cardinal virtues. In France it is the ex- 
treme of mauvais ton. Many hints might be advanta- 
geously borrowed from our Gallic neighbours. 

Tired to death of people wishing one joy : there is 
an impertinence about the salutation ; it conveys a 
doubt at best, and, as some people express themselves, 
looks very like a sneer. Received seven epistolary con- 
gratulations, which, from their great similarity of phrase 
and sentiment, I suspect to be all plagiarisms from the 
Polite Letter- Writer. Paid them in their own coin by 
writing a circular reply. 

Sat next to Lady Madeleine at a dinner-party. What 
a remarkably fine woman she is ! quite majestic, after 
one has been accustomed to dwarfs and puppets. After 
all, there is nothing so feminine and lovely as a fair 
complexion, especially when accompanied with that 
Corinthian air that natural nobility (if I may so ex- 
press myself), which at once stamps the high-born and 
high-bred woman of quality. If her hand alone were 
shown to me, I should swear that it belonged to a person 
of rank. A complexion of this sort testifies the station 
of its possessor. One sees Olives and Brunettes trund- 



140 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

ling mops and crying mackerel ; but no menial ever 
possessed Lady Madeleine's soft and delicate tints. What 
a charm, too, in that gentle and modest demeanour, 
forming so happy a medium between rustic reserve and 
London flippancy! 

Finding ourselves alone and the time hanging rather 
heavy, I began reading aloud Milton's Lycidas ; but, 
before I had accomplished three pages, observed Julia 
fast asleep ! Waked her, to remind her of her former 
declaration that she doted upon poetry. " So I do," 
was the reply, " but I like something funny : have you 
got Peter Pindar, or Dr. Syntax's Tour ?" Heavens ! 

what a taste ! Requested her to play me one of 

Haydn's canzonets : found her harp was thrown aside 
with seven broken strings, and the piano so much out 
of tune that she had not touched it for weeks. Am 
assured, however, that she is passionately fond of mu- 
sic when it is played by any one else ; on the faith of 
which I subscribed to six concerts, and my wife actually 
went to one. By love of the country I learn that she 
means Bath, Brighton, and Cheltenham, in their respec- 
tive seasons ; but as to the rural, the romantic, and the 
picturesque, she protests that she has no particular pen- 
chant for " a cow on a common, or a goose on a green," 
and is even uninfluenced by the combined attractions of 
" doves, dung, ducks, dirt, dumplings, daisies, and daf- 
fidowndillies." Flippancy is not wit. Sorry to find a 
difference in our sentiments upon many essential points, 
and compelled to acknowledge that she is by no means 
a woman of that invariable good sense for which I had 
given her credit. 

Compton and Harvey have quite become strangers. 






ANTE AND POST-NUPTIAL JOURNAL. 141 

Could not understand the meaning questioned the 
former upon the subject, when he asked me if I recol- 
lected one of the Miseries of Human Life " Going to 
dine with your friend upon the strength of a general 
invitation, and finding by the countenance of his wife 
you had much better have waited for a particular one. 
I don't mind a cold dinner," he continued, " but I can- 
not stand cold looks ; and Harvey is too much in re- 
quest to go where he is considered, even by silent inti- 
mation, as l un de trop.' " Expostulated with Mrs. 
Egerton upon this subject, when she denied the fact of 
any incivility, but confessed her wonder that I should 
associate with such a rattling fellow as Compton, who 
had nothing in him. Nothing in him ! no more has 
soda water; its attraction consists in its effervescence 
and volatility. Compton is an honest fellow, and loves 
good eating and drinking. He has vivacity, edacity, and 
bibacity ; what the deuce would she have ? 

By the by, those odious Jacksons positively haunt 
the house. It is lucky the old Nabob is worth money, 
for he is worth nothing else. The bore ! he has now 
given me five different receipts for bile, and I have been 
six times in at the death of that cursed tiger that he 
shot near Calcutta. Another dip would have made his fat 
wife a negress. Let no man offer to hand her down stairs 
unless he can carry three hundred w eight, and listen to 
a ten minutes' wheezing. Absurd to wear two diamond 
necklaces, where not one of them could be seen for her 
three double chins. The daughter, whom they call 
handsome (! ! !) squints ; the clever one is a Birming- 
ham blue-stocking ; the youngest is good-tempered, but 
quite a fool. As to " dear cousin Patty," she seems to 



142 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

have taken up her residence with us, though she has 
nothing to do but flatter my wife and wash the lap-dog. 
I thought it was against the canon law to marry a whole 
family. 

Shooting season nothing to do at home devilish 
dull Compton drove me in his tilbury to Hertford- 
shire lent me my old Joe Manton never shot better 
in my life missed nothing. Accepted an invitation 
from Sir Mark Manners to pass a fortnight with him in 
Norfolk, upon the strength of which bought a new pa- 
tent percussion gun, and promise myself famous sport. 
Got a letter from Harvey, at Melton the hunt was 
never kept up in such prime style ; ran down just for 
one day so much delighted that I purchased a famous 
hunter for only three hundred guineas, and was out 
every morning till it was time to start across the coun- 
try for Sir Mark's shooting box in Norfolk. 

Returned from Sir Mark's never spent a pleasanter 
fortnight in my life famous preserves my gun did 
wonders. Mrs. Egerton thought proper to object to the 
great expense of my recommencing a hunting-establish- 
ment, while she tormented me to deatli at the same 
time to give her a box at the Opera. In all that regards 
my amusements, I cannot accuse her of any want of 
economy ; but in every thing that has reference to her 
own freaks and fancies, she is perfectly regardless of 
cost. She is of the Hudibrastic quality, and 

" Compounds for sins she is inclined to, 
By damning those she has no mind to." 

Addison observes in the 205th Number of the Spec- 
tator, " that the palest features look the most agreeable 



ANTE AND POSTNUPTIAL JOURNAL. 143 

in white ; that a face which is overflushed appears to 
advantage in the deepest scarlet, and that a dark com- 
plexion is not a little alleviated by a black hood :" 
which he explains, by observing that a complexion, 
however dark, never approaches to black, or a pale one 
to white, so that their respective tendencies are modified 
by being compared with their extremes. Notwithstand- 
ing this authority, my wife, whose skin is almost Moor- 
ish, persists in wearing a white hat, which gives her the 
look of a perfect Yarico. Declined walking out with 
her this morning unless she changed it, which she ob- 
stinately refused, after wrangling with me for half an 
hour ; and, as I was determined to exercise my marital 
authority, I went out without her. Is it not astonish- 
ing that a person of the smallest reflection or good 
sense should stubbornly contend about such a mere 
trifle ? She has a monstrous disposition to domineer, 
which I am resolved to resist. 

Met Harvey in my promenade, who told me, that 
as there had been no committee at Brookes's or Arthur's 
since I withdrew my name, there was still time to rein- 
state it, which he kindly undertook to do for me. Hur- 
ried on myself to the 'Alfred and Union, and got there 
just in time to take down the notices. How excessively 
fortunate ! Acting the Hermit in London won't do : I 
hate affectation of any sort. Long evenings at home 
I hate still worse. One must have some resources ; for 
the romance of life, like all other romances, ends with 
marriage. The Rovers, Sir Harry Wildairs, Lovebys, 
and other wild gallants of the old comedies, never ap- 
pear upon the stage after this ceremony ; their freaks 
are over their "occupation's gone" they are pre- 



144 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

sumed to have become too decent and dull for the dra- 
matist. Their loves were a lively romance ; their mar- 
riage is flat history. The uncertainty of Bachelorship 
unquestionably gives a charm to existence ; a married 
man has nothing farther to expect ; he must sit down 
quietly, and wait for death. A single one likes to spec- 
ulate upon his future fate ; he has something to look 
forward to, and while he is making up his mind to what 
beauty he shall offer his hand, he roves amid a harem 
of the imagination, a sort of mental Potygamist. A 
man may be fortunate in wedlock, but if he is not 
I i i 

I certainly thought my wife had some smartness of 
conversation, but find that it only amounts to a petulant 
dicacity. Swift explains the process by which I was 
deceived when he says, " A very little wit is valued 
in a woman, as we are pleased with a few words spoken 
plain by a parrot." Perhaps he solves the difficulty 
better when he adds in another place, " Women are 
like riddles ; they please us no longer when once they 
are known." 

Told of a bon-mot launched by my friend Taylor on 
the occasion of my nuptials. Old Lady Dotterel ex- 
claiming that she feared I had been rather wild, and 
was glad to hear I was going to be married " So am I 
too," cried Taylor ; but, after a moment's consideration, 
added in a compassionate tone, " although I don't 
know why I should say so, poor fellow, for he never 

did me any harm in his life." Went to the play 

one of Reynold's comedies. Used to laugh formerly at 
the old fellows reply, when he is told that bachelors are 
useless fellows, and ought to be taxed " So we ought, 



THE LIBRARY. 145 



Ma'am, for it is quite a luxury." Admitted the fact, 
but could not join in the roar. Not a bad joke of the 
amateur, who, on examining the Seven Sacraments 
painted by Poussin, and criticizing the picture of Mar- 
riage, exclaimed " I find it is difficult to make a good 
marriage even in painting." Maitre Jean Piccard tells 
us, that when he was returning from the funeral of his 
wife, doing his best to look disconsolate, and trying dif- 
ferent expedients to produce a tear, such of the neigh- 
bours as had grown-up daughters and cousins came to 
him, and kindly implored him not to be inconsolable, 
as they could give him another wife. Six weeks after, 
says Maitre Jean, I lost my cow, and though I really 
grieved upon this occasion, not one of them offered to 

give me another. St. Paul may have been a very 

wise man in his dictum about marriage ; but he is still 
wiser who contents himself with doing well, and leaves 
it to others to do better. 



THE LIBRARY. 

" Books, like men their authors, have but one way of coming into the 
world ; but there are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more." 

TALE OF A TUB. 



LET us take off our hats and march with reverent 
steps, for we are about to enter into a library that in- 
tellectual heaven wherein are assembled all those mas- 
ter-spirits of the world who have achieved immortality ; 
those mental giants, who have undergone their apo- 
theosis, and from the shelves of this literary temple still 






146 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

hold silent communion with their mortal votaries. Here, 
as in one focus, are concentrated the rays of all the 
great luminaries since Cadmus, the inventor of letters, 
discovered the noble art of arresting so subtle, volatile, 
and invisible a thing as Thought, and imparted to it an 
existence more durable than that of brass and marble. 
This was, indeed, the triumph of mind over matter ; the 
lighting up of a new sun ; the formation of a moral 
world only inferior to the Almighty fiat that produced 
Creation. But for this miraculous process of eternizing 
knowledge, the reasoning faculty would have been be- 
stowed upon man in vain : it would have perished with 
the evanescent frame in which it was embodied ; human 
experience would not extend beyond individual life ; the 
wisdom of each generation would be lost to its successor, 
and the world could never have emerged from the dark- 
ness of barbarism. Books have been the great civilizers of 
men. The earliest literature of every country has been 
probably agricultural ; for subsistence is the most press- 
ing want of every new community ; abundance, when 
obtained, would have to be secured from the attacks 
of less industrious savages ; hence the necessity for the 
arts of war, for eloquence, hymns of battle, and funeral 
orations. Plenty and security soon introduce luxury 
and refinement ; leisure is found for writing and read- 
ing ; literature becomes ornamental as well as useful ; 
and poets are valued, not only for the delight they af- 
ford, but for their exclusive power of conferring a celeb- 
rity more durable than all the fame that can be achieved 
by medals, statues, monuments, and pyramids, or even 
by the foundation of cities, dynasties, and empires. 
This battered, soiled, and dog's-eared Homer, so 



THE LIBRARY. 14Y 



fraught with scholastic reminiscences, is the most sub- 
lime illustration of the preservative power of poetry 
that the world has yet produced. Nearly three thou- 
sand years have elapsed since the body of the author 
reverted to dust, and here is his mind, his thoughts, his 
very words, handed down to us entire, although the lan- 
guage in which he wrote has for many ages become 
silent upon the earth. This circumstance, however, is 
rather favourable to endurance ; for a classic poem, like 
the Phcenix, rises with renewed vigour from the ashes of 
its language. He who writes in a living tongue, casts a 
flower upon a running stream, which buoys it up and 
carries it swimmingly forward for a time, but the rapid- 
ity of its flight destroys its freshness and withers its 
form ; when, the beauties of its leaves being no longer 
recognizable, it soon sinks unnoticed to the bottom. A 
poem in a dead language is the same flower poised upon 
a still, secluded fountain, whose unperturbed waters 
gradually convert it into a petrifaction, unfading and 
immutable. To render Achilles invulnerable he was 
dipped into the river of the dead, and he who would 
arm his work against the scythe of Time must clothe it 
in an extinct language. When the Chian bard wan- 
dered through the world reciting his unwritten verses, 
which then existed only as a sound, Thebes with its 
hundred gates flourished in all its stupendous magnifi- 
cence, and the leathern ladies and gentlemen who grin 
at us from glass cases, under the denomination of mum- 
mies, were walking about its streets, dancing in its halls, 
or perhaps prostrating themselves in its temples before 
that identical Apis, or Ox-deity, whose thigh-bone was 
rummaged out of the sarcophagus hi the great pyra- 



148 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

mid, and transported to England by Captain Fitzcla- 
rence. Three hundred years rolled away after the Iliad 
was composed, before the she-wolf destined to nourish 
Romulus and Remus prowled amid the wilderness of 
the seven hills, whereon the marble palaces of Rome 
were subsequently to be founded. But why instance 
mortals and cities that have sprung up and crumbled 
into dust, since an immortal has been called into exist- 
ence in the intervening period ? Cupid, the god of 
love, is nowhere mentioned in the works of Homer, 
though his mother plays so distinguished a part in the 
poem, and so many situations occur where he would in- 
fallibly have been introduced, had he been then enrolled 
in the celestial ranks. It is obvious, therefore, that he 
was the production of later mythologists ; but, alas ! 
the deity and his religion, the nations that worshipped 
him, and the cities where his temples were reared, are 
all swept away in one common ruin. Mortals and im- 
mortals, creeds and systems, nations and empires, all 
are annihilated together. Even their heaven is no more. 

o 

Hyaenas assemble upon Mount Olympus instead of dei 
ties : Parnassus is a desolate waste ; and the silence of 
that wilderness, once covered with laurel groves and 
gorgeous fanes, whence Apollo gave out his oracles, is 
now only broken by the occasional crumbling of some 
fragment from the r6cky summit of the two-forked hill, 
scaring the wolf from his den and the eagle from her 
cliff. 

And yet here is the poem of Homer fresh and 
youthful as when it first emanated from his brain ; nay, 
it is probably in the very infancy of its existence, only 
in the outset of its career, and the generations whom it 



THE LIBRARY. 149 



has delighted are as nothing compared to those whom 
it is destined to charm in its future progress to eternity. 
Contrast this majestic and immortal fate with that of the 
evanescent dust and clay, the poor perishing frame 
whose organization gave it birth ; and what an additional 
argument does it afford, that the soul capable of such 
sublime efforts cannot be intended to revert to the 
earth with its miserable tegument of flesh. That which 
could produce immortality may well aspire to its enjoy- 
ment. 

Ah ! if the " learned Thebans," of whom we have 
made mention, had thought of embalming their minds 
instead of their bodies ; if they had committed their 
intellect to paper, instead of their limbs to linen ; and 
come down to us bound up in vellum with a steel clasp, 
instead of being coffined up in sycamore with an iron 
screw, how much more perfect would have been the post- 
humous preservation, and how much more delightful to 
the literary world to have possessed an epic Thebaid 
from an ancient Theban, than from so affected and tur- 
gid a Roman as Statius ! Let us not, however, despair. 
A portion of the very poem of Homer which has elicit- 
ed these remarks, has lately been discovered in the en- 
veloping folds of a mummy ; and who shall say that 
we may not hereafter unravel the verses of some Mem- 
phian bard, who has been taking a nap of two or three 
thousand years in the catacombs of Luxor ? M. Denon 
maintains that almost all the learning, and nearly all the 
arts, of modern Europe, Were known to the ancient 
Egyptians ; and as a partial confirmation of this theory, 
I may here mention, that on the interior case of a 
mummy-chest there was lately found a plate of crystal- 



150 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

lized metal resembling tin, although that art has only 
been recently and accidentally discovered in England. 
So true is it that there is nothing new which has not 
once been old. 

What laborious days, what watchings by the mid- 
night lamp, what rackings of the brain, what hopes and 
fears, what long lives of laborious study, are here sub- 
limized into print, and condensed into the narrow com- 
pass of these surrounding shelves ! What an epitome 
of the past world, and how capricious the fate by which 
some of them have been preserved, while others of 
greater value have perislied ! The monks of. the middle 
ages, being the great medium of conservation, and out- 
raged nature inciting them to avenge the mortification 
of the body by the pruriousness of the mind, the amatory 
poets have not only come down to us tolerably entire, 
but they " have added fat pollutions of their own," pass- 
ing off their lascivious elegies as the production of Cor- 
nelius Gallus, or anonymously sending forth into the 
world still more licentious and gross erotics. Some of 
the richest treasures of antiquity have been redeemed 
from the dust and cobwebs of monastical libraries, 
lumber-rooms, sacristies, and cellars ; others have been 
excavated in iron chests, or disinterred from beneath 
ponderous tomes of controversial divinity, or copied from 
the backs of homilies and sermons, with which, in the 
scarcity of parchment, they had been over-written. If 
some of our multitudinous writers would compile a 
circumstantial account of the resurrection of every 
classical author, and a minute narrative of the discovery 
of every celebrated piece of ancient sculpture, what an 
interesting volume might be formed ! 



THE LIBRARY. 151 



Numerous as they are, what are the books preserved 
in comparison with those that we have lost? The dead 
races of mankind scarcely outnumber the existing 
generation more prodigiously than do the books that 
have perished exceed those that remain to us. Men are 
naturally scribblers, and there has probably prevailed, 
in all ages since the invention of letters, a much more 
extensive literature than is dreamt of in our philosophy. 
Osymandias, the ancient King of Egypt, if Herodotus 
may be credited, built a library in his palace, over the 
door of which was the well-known inscription " Physic 
for the Soul." Job wishes that his adversary had 
written a book, probably for the consolation of cutting 
it up in some Quarterly or Jerusalem Review ; the ex- 
pression, at all events, indicates a greater activity " in 
the Row" than we are apt to ascribe to those primitive 
times. Allusion is also made in the Scriptures to the 
library of the Kings of Persia, as well as to one built 
by Nehemiah. Ptolemy Philadelphus had a collection 
of 700,000 volumes destroyed by Csesar's soldiers ; and 
the Alexandrian Library, burnt by the Caliph Omar, 
contained 400,000 manuscripts. What a combustion 
of congregated brains ! the quintescence of ages the 
wisdom of a world all simultaneously converted into 
smoke and ashes ! This, as Cowley would have said, is 
to put out the fire of genius by that of the torch ; to ex- 
tinguish the light of reason in that of its own funeral 
pyre ; to make matter once more triumph over mind. 
Possibly, however, our loss is rather imaginary than 
real, greater in quantity than in quality. Men's intellects, 
like their frames, continue pretty much the same in all 
ages, and the human faculty, limited in its sphere of 



152 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

action, and operating always upon the same materials, 
soon arrives at an impassable acme which leaves us 
nothing to do but to ring the changes upon antiquity. 
Half our epic poems are modifications of Homer, though 
none are equal to that primitive model; our Ovidian 
elegies, our Pindarics, and our Anacreontics, all resemble 
their first parents in features as well as in name. Fer- 
tilizing our minds with the brains of our predecessors, 
we raise new crops of the old grain, and pass away to 
manure the intellectual field for future harvests of the 
same description. Destruction and reproduction is the 
system of the moral as well as of the physical world. 

An anonymous book loses half its interest ; it is the 
voice of the invisible, an echo from the clouds, the 
shadow of an unknown substance, an abstraction devoid 
of all humanity. One likes to hunt out an author, if 
he be dead, in obituaries and biographical dictionaries ; 
to chase him from his birth ; to be in at his death, and 
learn what other offspring of his brain survive him. 
Even an assumed name is better than none ; though it 
is clearly a nominal fraud, a desertion from our own to 
enlist into another identity. It may be doubted whether 
we have any natural right thus to leap down the throat, 
as it were, of an imaginary personage, and pass off a 
counterfeit of our own creation for genuine coinage. But 
the strongest s^mi-vitality, or zoophite state of existence, 
is that of the -writers of Epliemcridcs, who s<ju<v/<* the 
whole bulk of their individuality into the narrow coin- 
pass of a single consonant or vowel ; who have an al- 
phabious being as Mr. A., a liquid celebrity under the 
initial of L., or attain an immortality of zig-zag under 
the signature of Z. How fantastical to be personally 



THE LIBRARY. 153 



known as an impersonal, to be literally a man of letters, 
to have all our virtues and talents entrusted to one little 
hieroglyphic, like the bottles in the apothecary's shop. 
Compared to this ignoble imprisonment, how light the 
punishment of the negligent Sylph, who was threat- 
ened to 

Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins, 
Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie, 
Or wedged whole ages in a bodkin's eye ; 
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, 
While, clogg'd, he beats his silken wings in vain. 

So gross are my perceptions, that my mind refuses 
to take cognizance of these Magazine sprites, in their 
alphabetical and shadowy state. I animate these 
monthly apparitions, put flesh and blood around the 
bones of their letters, and even carry my humanity so 
far as to array them in appropriate garments. I have 
an ideal (not always a beau ideal) of every one of the 
contributors to the New Monthly, as accurate, no doubt, 
as the notion which Lavater formed of men's characters 
from their autograph. Sometimes, however, this 
Promethean art has been a puzzling process. One 
Essayist, wishing to immortalize himself, like the Wat- 
Tylericide Mayor of London, by a dagger, assumed that 
note of reference as his signature, and occasioned me in- 
finite trouble in providing a sheath of flesh. Another, 
who now honourably wields the sword of justice in the 
land of the convict and the kangaroo, used to distinguish 
his well-written papers by three daggers at once, taxing 
my imagination to the utmost by this tripartite indivi- 
duality, and making expensive demands upon the 
7 



154 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

wardrobe of my brain. A third held out a hand at the 
bottom of his page, beckoning me to its welcome 
perusal a symbol which my eye (if the catachresis may 
be allowed) was always eager to grasp and shake, and 
to which my fancy affixed a body with as much con- 
fidence as he who conjured up a Hercules from a foot. 
But the most bewildering of these contractions of 
humanity was the subscription of a star; for, after a 
man had become sidereal and accomplished his apo- 
theosis, it seemed somewhat irreverend to restore" him 
to his incarnate state. 

"This raised a mortal to the skies, 
That drew an author down." 

I brought down these Astraei from their empyrean, 
remodelled their frames, gave them a suit of clothes for 
nothing, and had before my mind's eye a distinct 
presentment of their identity. 

Even when we assume a literary individuality some- 
what more substantial than this fanciful creation ; when 
one is known, proprid persona, as the real identical 
Tomkins, who writes in a popular magazine under the 
signature of any specific letter, to what does it amount ? 
an immortality of a month, after Avhich we are 
tranquilly left to enjoy an eternity of oblivion. Our 
very nature is ephemeral : we " come like shadows, so 
depart." From time to time some benevolent and dis- 
interested compiler endeavors to pluck us from the 
Lethean gulf, by republishing our best papers under the 
captivating title erf " Beauties of the Magazines," " Spirit 
of the modern Essayists," or some such embalming 
words; but alas! like a swimmer in the wide ocean, 



THE LIBRARY. 155 



who attempts to uphold his sinking comrade, he can 
but give him a few moments' respite, when both sink 
together in the waters of oblivion. We know what 
pains have been taken to appropriate Addis on's and 
Steele's respective papers in the Spectator, distinguished 
only by initials. Deeming my own lucubrations (as 
what essayist does not?) fully entitled to the same 
anxious research, I occasionally please myself with 
dreaming that some future Malone, seated in a library, 
as I am at this present moment, may take down a sur- 
viving volume of the New Monthly, and, naturally 
curious to ascertain the owner of the initial H, may 
discover, by ferreting into obituaries and old newspapers, 
that it actually designates a Mr. Higginbotham, who 
lies buried in Shoreditch church. Anticipating a hand- 
some monument with a full account of the author, and 
some pathetic verses by a poetical friend, he hurries to 
the spot, and after an infinity of groping, assisted by 
the sexton's spectacles, discovers a flat stone, which, 
under the customary emblems of a death's head and 
cross bones, conveys the very satisfactory information* 
that the aforesaid Mr. Higginbotham was born on one 
day and died upon another. Of all the intervening 
period, its hopes and fears, its joys and miseries, its 
verse and prose, not an atom farther can be gleaned. 
And this it is to be a writer of Ephemerides ! Verily, 
the idea is so disheartening, that I should be tempted 
to commit some rash act, and perpetrate publication on 
my own account, but that I have before my eyes the 
fate of certain modern Blackmores, impressing upon me 
the salutary truth, that if we must perish and be for- 
gotton, it is better to die of a monthly essay than an 
annual epic. 



156 



GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



UGLY WOMEN. 

"Un homme rencontre une femme. et est cheque de sa laideur; bien- 
tot, si elle n'a pas de pretcntions, sa physionomie lui fait oublier les defauts 
de ses traits, il la trouve aimable, et conceit qu'on puisse r aimer; huit 
jours apres il a des esperances, huit jours apres on les lui retire, huit jours 
aprC-s il cst fou." 

De V Amour. 

THE ancient inhabitants of Amathus, in the island of 
Cyprus, were the most celebrated statuaries in the world, 
which they almost exclusively supplied with gods and 
goddesses. Every one who had a mind to be in the 
vogue ordered his deity from those fashionable artists : 
even Jupiter himself was hardly considered orthodox 
and worship-worthy, unless emanating from the estab- 
lished Pantheon of the Cypriots; and as to Juno, 
Venus, Minerva and Diana, it was admitted that they 
had a peculiar knack in their manufacture, and it need 
hardly be added that they drove a thriving trade in 
those popular goddesses. But this monopoly was more 
favourable to the fortunes than to the happiness of the 
parties. By constantly straining above humanity, and 
aspiring to the representation of celestial beauty ; by 
fostering the enthusiasm of their imaginations in the 
pursuit of the beau idtal, they acquired a distaste, or 
at least an indifference, for mortal attractions, and 
turned up their noses at their fair countrywomen for not 
being Junos and Minervas. Not one of them equalled 
the model which had been conjured up in their minds, 
and not one of them, consequently, would they deign 
to notice. At the public games, the women were all 
huddled together, whispering and looking glum, while 



UGLY WOMEN. 15 7 



the men congregated as far from them as possible, dis- 
cussing the beau idtfal. Had they been prosing upon 
politics, you might have sworn it was an English party. 
Dancing was extinct, unless the ladies chose to lead out 
one another; the priests waxed lank and woebegone 
for want of the marriage-offerings : Hymen's altar was 
covered with as many cobwebs as a poor's box ; suc- 
cessive moons rose and set without a single honeymoon, 
and the whole island threatened to become an antinup- 
tial colony of bachelors and old maids. 

In this emergency, Pygmalion, the most eminent 
statuary of the place, falling in love with one of his own 
works, a figure of Diana, which happened to possess the 
beau idal in perfection, implored Venus to animate the 
marble ; and she, as is well known to every person 
conversant with authentic history, immediately granted 
his request. So far as this couple ^vere concerned, one 
would have imagined that the evil was remedied ; but, 
alas ! the remedy was worse than the disease. The 
model of excellence was now among them, alive and 
breathing ; the men were perfectly mad, beleaguering 
the house from morn to night to get a peep at her ; all 
other women were treated with positive insult, and of 
course the whole female population was possessed by all 
the Furies. Marmorea (such was the name of the 
animated statue) was no Diana in the flesh, whatever 
she might have been in the marble : if the scandalous 
chronicles of those days may be believed, she had more 
than one favoured lover; certain is that she was the 
cause of constant feuds and battles in which many lives 
were lost, and Pygmalion himself was at last found 
murdered in the neighbourhood of his own house. The 



158 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

whole island was now on the point of a civil war on 
account of this philanthropical Helen, when one of her 
disappointed wooers, in a fit of jealousy, stabbled her to 
the heart, and immediately after threw himself from a 
high rock into the sea. 

Such is the tragedy which would probably be enact- 
ing at the present moment, in every country of the 
world, but for the fortunate circumstance that we have 
no longer any fixed standard of beauty, real or imagi- 
nary, and by a necessary and happy consequence no 
determinate rule of ugliness. In fact there are no such 
animals as ugly women, though we still continue to 
talk of them as we do of Harpies, Gorgons, and Chi- 
meras. There is no deformity that does not find ad- 
mirers, and no loveliness that is not deemed defective. 
Anamaboo, the African prince, received so many atten- 
tions from a celebrated belle of London, that, in a 
moment of tenderness, he could not refrain from laying 
his hand on his heart and exclaiming, " Ah ! madam, if 
Heaven had only made you a negress, you would have 
been irresistible !" And the same beauty, when travelling 
among the Swiss Cretins, heard several of the men 
ejaculating, " How handsome she is ! what a pity that 
she wants a Goitre !" Plain women were formerly so 
common, that they were termed ordinary, to signify 
the frequency of their occurrence ; in these happier days 
the phrase &r/raordinary would be more applicable. 
However parsimonious, or even cruel, Nature may have 
been in other respects, they all cling to admiration by 
some solitary tenure that redeems them from the un- 
qualified imputation of unattractiveness. One has an 
eye that, like Charity, covers a multitude of sins; an- 



UGLY WOMEN. 159 



other is a female Samson, whose strength consists in 
her hair ; a third holds your affections by her teeth ; a 
fourth is a Cinderella, who wins hearts by her pretty 
little foot ; a fifth makes an irresistible appeal from her 
face to her figure, and so on, to the end of the catalogue. 
An expressive countenance may always be claimed in 
the absence of any definite charm : if even this be 
questionable, the party generally contrives to get a re- 
putation for great cleverness ; and if that too be in- 
humanly disputed, envy itself must allow that she is 
" excessively amiable." 

Still it must be acknowledged, that however men 
may differ as to the details, they agree as to results, and 
crowd about an acknowledged beauty, influenced by 
some secret attraction, 01 which they are themselves 
unconscious, and of which the source has never been 
clearly explained. It would seem impossible that it 
should originate in any sexual symptoms, since we feel 
the impulsion without carrying ourselves, even in idea, 
beyond the present pleasure of gazing, and are even 
sensibly affected by the sight of beautiful children : yet 
it cannot be an abstract admiration, for it is incontest- 
able that neither men nor women are so vehemently 
impressed by the contemplation of beauty in their own 
as in the opposite sex. This injustice towards our own 
half of humanity might be assigned to a latent envy, 
but that the same remark applies to the pleasure we 
derive from statues, of the proportions of which we could 
hardly be jealous. Ugly statues may be left to their 
fate without any compunctious visitings of nature : but 
our conduct towards women, whom we conceive to be 
in a similar predicament, is by no means entitled to the 



100 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

same indulgence. We shuffle away from them at parties, 
and sneak to the other end of the dinner-table, as if their 
features were catching ; and as to their falling in love 
and possessing the common feelings of their sex, we 
laugh at the very idea. And yet these Parias of the 
drawing-room generally atone, by interior talent, for 
what they want in exterior charms ; as if the Medusa's 
head were still destined to be carried by Minerva. 
Nature seldom lavishes her gifts upon one subject : the 
peacock has no voice : the beautiful Camellia Japonica 
has no odour ; and belles, generally speaking, have no 
great share of intellect. Some visionaries amuse them- 
selves with imagining that the complacency occasioned 
by the possession of physical charms conduces to moral 
perfection. 

" Why doth not beauty, then, refine the wit, 
And good complexion rectify the will ?" 

This is a fond conceit, unwarranted by earthly test, 
though destined perhaps to be realized in a happier 
state of existence. 

AVhat a blessing for these unhandsome damsels 
whom we treat still more unhandsomely by our fasti- 
dious neglect, that some of us are less squeamish in our 
tastes, and more impartial in our attentions ! Solomon 
proves the antiquity of the adage "De gustibus nil 
disputandum," for he compares the hair of his be- 
loved to a flock of goats appearing from Mount Gilead, 
and in a strain of enamoured flattery exclaims, " Thy 
eyes are like the fish-pools in Heshbon, by the gate of 
Bath-rabbim ; thy nose like the tower of Lebanon look- 
ing towards Damascus." Now I deem it as becoming 



UGLY WOMEN. 161 



to see a woman standing behind a good roomy nose, as 
to contemplate a fair temple with a majestic portico ; 
but it may be questioned whether a nose like the tower 
of Lebanon be not somewhat too elephantine and bor- 
dering on the proboscis. The nez retroussg is smart and 
piquant ; the button-nose, like all other diminutives, is 
endearing ; and even the snub absolute has its admirers. 
Cupid can get over it, though it have no bridge, and 
jumps through a wall-eye like a harlequin. As to the 
latter feature, my taste may be singular, perhaps bad, 
but I confess that I have a penchant for that captivating 
cast, sometimes invidiously termed a squint. Its ad- 
vantages are neither few nor unimportant. Like a bowl, 
its very bias makes it sure of hitting the jack, while it 
seems to be running out of the course ; and it has, 
moreover, the invaluable property of doing execution 
without exciting suspicion, like the Irish guns with 
crooked barrels, made for shooting round a corner. 
Common observers admire the sun in its common state, 
but philosophers find it a thousand times more inte- 
resting when suffering a partial eclipse ; while the lovers 
of the picturesque are more smitten with its rising and 
setting than with its meridian splendour. Such men 
must be enchanted with a strabismus or squint, where 
they may behold the ball of sight emerging from the 
nnsal East, or setting in its Occidental depths, presenting 
every variety of obscuration. With regard to teeth, 
also, a very erroneous taste prevails. Nothing can be 
more stiff and barrack-like than that uniformity of shape 
and hue which is so highly vaunted, for the merest tyro 
in landscape will tell us that castellated and jagged out- 
lines, with a pleasing variety of tints, are infinitely more 



162 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

pictorial and pleasing. Patches of bile in the face are 
by no means to be deprecated ; they impart to it a rich 
mellow tone of autumnal colouring, which we should in 
vain seek in less gifted complexions : and I am most 
happy to vindicate the claims of a moderate beard upon 
the upper lip, which is as necessary to the perfect beauty 
of the mouth as are the thorns and moss to a rose, or 
the leaves to a cherry. If there be any old maids still 
extant, while mysogonists are so rare, the fault must be 
attributable to themselves, and they must incur all the 
responsibility of their single blessedness. 

In the connubial lottery ugly women possess an ad- 
vantage to which sufficient importance has not been 
attached. It is a common observation, that husband 
and wife frequently resemble one another ; and many 
ingenious theorists, attempting to solve the problem by 
attributing it to sympathy, contemplation of one another's 
features, congeniality of habits and modes of life, &c., 
have fallen into the very common error of substituting 
the cause for the effect. This mutual likeness is the oc- 
casion, not the result, of marriage. Every man, like 
Narcissus, becomes enamoured of the reflection of him- 
self, only choosing a substance instead of a shadow. 
His love for any particular woman is self-love at second- 
hand, vanity reflected, compound egotism. When he 
sees himself in the mirror of a female face, he exclaims, 
"How intelligent, how amiable, how interesting ! how 
admirably adapted for a wife !" and forthwith makes his 
proposals to the personage so expressly and literally 
calculated to keep him in countenance. The uglier he 
is, the more need he has of this consolation ; he forms 
a romantic attachment to the "fascinating creature 



UGLY WOMEN. 163 



with the snub nose," or the " bewitching girl with the 
roguish leer," ( Anglice squint,) without once suspecting 
that he is paying his addresses to himself, and playing 
the innamorato before a looking-glass. Take self-love 
from love, and very little remains : it is taking the 
flame from Hymen's torch and leaving the smoke. 
The same feeling extends to his progeny : he would 
rather see them resemble himself, particularly in his 
defects, than be modelled after the chubbiest Cherubs 
or Cupids that ever emanated from the studio of Canova. 
One sometimes encounters a man of a most unqualified 
hideousness, who obviously considers himself an Adonis ; 
and when such a one has to seek a congenial Venus, it 
is evident that her value will be in the inverse ratio of 
her charms. Upon this principle ugly women will be 
converted into belles, perfect frights will become irresist- 
ible, and none need despair of conquests, if they have 
but the happiness to be sufficiently plain. 

The best part of beauty, says Bacon, is that which 
a statue or painting cannot express. As to symmetry of 
form and superficial grace, sculpture is exquisitely per- 
fect, but the countenance is of too subtle and intangible 
a character to be arrested by any modification of marble. 
Busts, especially where the pupil of the eye is unmarked, 
have the appearance of mere masks, and are represen- 
tations of little more than blindness and death. Paint- 
ing supplies by colouring and shade much that sculp- 
ture wants ; but, on the other hand, it is deficient in 
what its rival possesses fidelity of superficial form. 
Nothing can compensate for our inability to walk round a 
picture, and choose various points of view. Facility of 
production, meanness of material, and vulgarity of as- 



164 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

sociation, have induced us to look down with unmerited 
contempt upon those waxen busts in the perfumers 1 
shops, which, as simple representations of female nature, 
have attained a perfection that positively amounts to the 
kissable. That delicacy of tint and material, which so 
admirably adapts itself to female beauty, forms, how- 
ever, but a milk-rnaidish representation of virility, and 
the men have, consequently, as epicene and androgynous 
an aspect as if they had just been bathing in the Sal- 
macian fountain. 

Countenance, however, is not within the reach of 
any of these substances or combinations. It is a species 
of moral beauty, as superior to mere charm of surface 
as mind is to matter. It is, in fact, visible spirit, legible 
intellect, diffusing itself over the features, and enabling 
minds to commune with each other by some secret sym- 
pathy unconnected with the senses. The heart has a 
silent echo in the face, which frequently carries to us a 
conviction diametrically opposite to the audible expres- 
sions of the mouth ; and we see, through the eyes, into 
the understanding of the man, long before it can com- 
municate with us by utterance. This emanation of 
character is the light of a soul destined to the skies, 
shining through its tegument of clay, and irradiating 
the countenance, as the sun illuminates the face of na- 
ture before it rises above the earth to commence its 
heavenly career. Of this indefinable charm all women 
are alike susceptible : it is to them what gunpowder is 
to warriors ; it levels all distinctions, and gives to the 
plain and the pretty, to the timid and the brave, an 
equal chance of making conquests. It is, in fine, one 
among a thousand proofs of that system of compensa- 



THE WORLD. 165 



tion, both physical and moral, by which a Superior 
Power is perpetually evincing his benignity ; affording 
to every human being a commensurate chance of 
happiness, and inculcating upon all, that when they 
turn their faces towards heaven, they should reflect the 
light from above, and be animated by one uniform ex- 
pression of love, resignation, and gratitude. 



THE WORLD. 

Nihil est dulciiis his literis, quibus ccelum, terrain, maria, cognoscimus. 

THERE is a noble passage in Lucretius, in which he 
describes a savage in the early stage of the world, 
when men were yet contending with beasts the posses- 
sion of the earth, flying with loud shrieks through the 
woods from the pursuit of some ravenous animal, una- 
ble to fabricate arms for his defence, and without art to 
staunch the streaming wounds inflicted on him by his 
four-footed competitor. But there is a deeper subject of 
speculation, if we carry our thoughts back to that still 
earlier period when the beasts of the field and forest 
held undivided sway ; when Titanian brutes, whose race 
has been long extinct, exercised a terrific despotism over 
the subject earth ; and that " bare forked animal," who 
is pleased to dub himself the Lord of the Creation, 
had not been called up out of the dust to assume his 
soi-disant supremacy. Geologists pretend to discover 
in the bowels of the earth itself indisputable proofs that 
it must have been for many centuries nothing more 
than a splendid arena for monsters. We have scarcely 



166 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

penetrated beyond its surface ; but, whenever any con- 
vulsion of Nature affords us a little deeper insight into 
her recesses, we seldom fail to discover fossil remains of 
gigantic creatures, though, amid all these organic frag- 
ments, we never encounter the slightest trace of any 
human relics. How strange the surmise, that for nu- 
merous, perhaps innumerable centuries, this most beau- 
tiful pageant of the world performed its magnificent 
evolutions, the sun and moon rising and setting, the 
seasons following their appointed succession, and the 
ocean uprolling its invariable tides, for no other appa- 
rent purpose than that lions and tigers might retire 
howling to their dens, as the shaking of the ground 
proclaimed the approach of the mammoth, or that the 
behemoth might perform his unwieldy flounderings in 
the deep ! How bewildering the idea, that the glorious 
firmament and its constellated lights, and the varicolour- 
ed clouds, that hang like pictures upon its sides ; and 
the perfume which the flowers scatter from their painted 
censers and the blushing fruits that delight the eye 
not less than the palate and the perpetual music of 
winds, waves, and woods, should have been formed 
for the recreation and embellishment of a vast mena- 
gerie ! 

And yet we shall be less struck with wonder that 
all this beauty, pomp, and delight, should have been 
thrown away upon undiscerning and unreasoning brutes, 
if we call to mind that many of those human bipeds, 
to whom Nature has given the "os sublime" have little 
more perception or enjoyment of her charms than a 
" cow on a common, or goose on a green." Blind to 
her more obvious wonders, we cannot expect that they 



THE WORLD. 167 



should be interested in the silent but stupendous mira- 
cles which an invisible hand is perpetually performing 
around them that they should ponder on the mysteri- 
ous, and even contradictory metamorphoses, which the 
unchanged though change-producing earth is unceas- 
ingly effecting. She converts an acorn into a majestic 
oak, and they heed it not, though they will wonder for 
whole months how harlequin changed a porter-pot into 
a nosegay : she raises from a little bulb a stately tulip, 
and they only notice it to remark, that it would bring 
a good round sum in Holland ; from one seed she 
elaborates an exquisite flower, which diffuses a delicious 
perfume, while to another by its side she imparts an 
offensive odour : from some she extracts a poison, from 
others a balm, while from the reproductive powers of a 
small grain she contrives to feed the whole populous 
earth : and yet these matter-of-course gentry, because 
such magical paradoxes are habitual, see in them no- 
thing more strange than that they themselves should 
cease to be hungry when they have had their dinners ; 
or that two and two should make four, when they are 
adding up their Christmas bills. It is of no use to re- 
mind such obtuse plodders, when recording individual 
enthusiasm, that 

"My charmer is not mine alone ; my sweets, 
And she that sweetens all my bitters too, 
Nature, enchanting Nature, in whose form 
And lineaments divine I trace a hand 
That errs not, and find raptures still renew'd, 
Is free to all men universal prize ; " 

for though she may be free to them, she sometimes pre- 



168 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

sents them, instead of a prize, " an universal blank." 
The most astounding manifestations, if they recur regu- 
larly, are unmarked ; it is only the trifling deviations 
from their own daily experience that set them gaping 
in a stupid astonishment. 

For my own part, I thank Heaven that I can never 
step out into this glorious world I can never look 
forth upon the flowery earth, and the glancing waters, 
and the blue sky, without feeling an intense and ever- 
new delight; a physical pleasure that makes mere 
existence delicious. Apprehensions of the rheumatism 
may deter me from imitating the noble fervour of Lord 
Bacon, who, in a shower, used sometimes to take off 
his hat, that he might feel the great spirit of the uni- 
verse descend upon him ; but I would rather gulp down 
the balmy air than quaff the richest ambrosia that was 
ever tippled upon Olympus ; for while it warms and 
expands the heart, it produces no other intoxication 
than that intellectual abandonment which gives up the 
whole soul to a mingled overflowing of gratitude to 
Heaven, and benevolence towards man. " Were I not 
Alexander," said the Emathian madman, " I would 
wish to be Diogenes ; " so when feasting upon this 
aerial beverage, which is like swallowing so much vital- 
ity, I have been tempted to ejaculate, Were I not a 
man, I should wish to be a cameleon. In Pudding- 
lane and the Minories, I am aware that this potation, 
like Irish whiskey, is apt to have the smack of the 
smoke somewhat too strong ; and even the classic at- 
mosphere of Conduit-street, may occasionally require a 
little filtering : but I speak of that pure, racy, elastic 
element, which I have this morning been inhaling in 






THE WORLD. 169 



one of the forests of France, where, beneath a sky of 
inconceivable loveliness, I reclined upon a mossy bank, 
moralizing like Jacques ; when, as if to complete the 
scene, a stag emerged from the trees, gazed at me for a 
moment, and dashed across an opening into the far 
country. Here was an end of every thing Shakspeari- 
an, for presently the sound of horns made the welkin 
ring, and a set of grotesque figures, bedizened with lace 
dresses, cocked hats, and jack-boots, deployed from the 
wood, and followed the chase with praiseworthy regu- 
larity the nobles taking the lead, and the procession 
being brought up by the " valets des chiens a pied." 
Solitude and silence again succeeded to this temporary 
interruption, though in the amazing clearness of the 
atmosphere I could see the stag and his pursuers scour- 
ing across the distant plain, like a pigmy pageant, long 
after I had lost the sound of the horns and the baying 
of the dogs. A man must have been abroad to form 
an idea of the lucidness and transparency, which con- 
fers upon him a new sense, or at least enlarges an old 
one, by the additional tracts of country which it places 
within the visual grasp, and the heightened hues with 
which the wide horizon is invested by the crystal medi- 
um through which it is surveyed. 

In the unfavoured regions, where Heaven seems to 
look with a scowling eye upon the earth, and the hand 
of a tremendous Deity is perpetually stretched forth to 
wield the thunder and the storm, men not only learn to 
reverence the power on whose mercy they feel them- 
selves to be hourly dependent, but instinctively turn from 
the hardships arid privations of this world to the hope 
of more genial skies and luxurious sensations in the 
8 



170 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

next. The warmth of religion is frequently in propor- 
tion to the external cold : the more the body shivers, 
the more the mind wraps in ideal furs, and revels in 
imaginary sunshine ; and it is remarkable, that in every 
creed climate forms an essential feature in the rewards 
or punishments of a future state. The Scandinavian 
hell was placed amid " chilling regions of thick-ribbed 
ice," while the attraction of the Mahometan paradise is 
the coolness of its shady groves. By the lot of human- 
ity, there is no proportion between the extremes of 
pleasure and pain. No enjoyment can be set off against 
an acute tooth-ach, much less against the amputation 
of a limb, or many permanent diseases ; and our distri- 
butions of a future state strikingly attest this inherent 
inequality. The torments are intelligible and distinct 
enough, and lack not a tangible conception ; but the 
beatitudes are shadowy and indefinite, and, for want of 
some experimental standard by which to estimate them, 
are little better than abstractions. 

In the temperate and delicous climates of the earth, 
which ought to operate as perpetual stimulants to grateful 
piety, there is, I apprehend, too much enjoyment to 
leave room for any great portion of religious fervour. 
The inhabitants are too well satisfied with this world to 
look much beyond it. " I have no objection," said an 
English sailor, " to pray upon the occasion of a storm 
or a battle ; but they make us say prayers on board our 
ship when it is the finest weather possible, and not an 
enemy's flag to be seen !" This is but a blind aggrava- 
tion of a prevalent feeling among mankind, when the 
very blessings we enjoy, by attaching us to earth, render 
us almost indifferent to heaven. When they were com- 



TIJE WORLD. 171 



forting a king of France upon his death-bed, with as- 
surances of a perennial throne amid the regions of the 
blessed, he replied, with a melancholy air, that he was 
perfectly satisfied with the Tuileries and France. I my- 
self begin to feel the enervating effects of climate, for 
there has not been a single morning, in this country, in 
which I could have submitted, with reasonable good 
humour, to be hanged : while in England, I have ex- 
perienced many days, in and out of November, when I 
could have gone through the operation with stoical in- 
difference ; nay, could have even felt an extraordinary 
respect for the Ordinary, and have requested Mr. Ketch 
to " accept the assurances of my distinguished consid- 
eration," for taking the trouble off my own hands. I 
am capable of feeling now why the Neapolitans, in the 
last invasion, boggled about exchanging, upon a mere 
point of honour, their sunny skies, "love-breathing 
woods and lute resounding waves," and the sight of the 
dancing Mediterranean, for the silence and darkness of 
the cold blind tomb. Falstaffs in every thing, they 
" like not such grinning honour as Sir Walter hath." 
From the same cause the luxurious Asiatics have always 
fallen an easy prey to the invader ; while the Arab 
has invariably been ready to fight for his burning sands, 
and the Scythian for his snows, not because they over- 
valued their country, but because its hardships had 
made them undervalue life. Many men cling to exist- 
ence to perpetuate pleasures, as there are some who will 
even court death to procure them. Gibbon records 
what he terms the enthusiasm of a young Mussulman, 
who threw himself upon the enemy'lances, singing re- 
ligious hymns, proclaiming that he saw the black-eyed 



172 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

. ^ 

Houris of Paradise waiting with open arms to embrace 
him, and cheerfully sought destruction that he might 
revel in lasciviousness. This is not the fine courage of 
principle, nor the fervour of patriotism, but the drunk- 
enness of sensuality. The cunning device of Mahomet, 
in offering a posthumous bonus to those who would 
have their throats cut for the furtherance of his ambi- 
tion, was but an imitation of Odin and other northern 
butchers ; and what is glory, in its vulgar acceptation, 
stars, crosses, ribbons, titles, public funerals, and national 
monuments, but the blinding baubles with which more 
legitimate slaughterers lure on dupes and victims to 
their own destruction ? These sceptred jugglers shall 
never coax a bayonet into my body, nor wheedle a 
bullet into my brain ; for I had rather go without rest 
altogether, than sleep in the bed of honour. So far 
from understanding the ambition of being turned to 
dust, I hold with the old adage about the living dog and 
the dead lion. I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall to 
encounter the stern scythe-bearing skeleton. When I 
return to the land of fogs I may get courage to look 
him in the skull ; but it unnerves one to think of quit- 
ting such delicious skies, and rustling copses, and thick- 
flowered meads, and Favonian gales, as these which 
now surround me ; and it is intolerable to reflect, that 
yonder blazing sun may shine upon my grave without 
imparting to me any portion of his cheerful warmth, or 
that the blackbird, whom I now hear warbling as if his 
heart were running over with joy, may perch upon my 
tombstone without my hearing a single note of his 
song. 

As it has been thought that the world existed many 



THE WORLD. 173 



ages without any inhabitants whatever, was next sub- 
jected to the empire of brutes, and now constitutes the 
dominion of man, it would seem likely, that in its pro- 
gressive advancement to higher destinies it may ulti- 
mately have lords of the creation much superior to our- 
selves, who may speak compassionately of the degrada- 
tion it experienced under human possession, and con- 
gratulate themselves on the extinction of that pugna- 
cious and mischievous biped called Man. The face of 
Nature is still young ; it exhibits neither wrinkles nor 
decay ; whether radiant with smiles or awfully beautiful 
in frowns, it is still enchanting, and not less fraught 
with spiritual than material attractions, if we do but 
know how to moralize upon her features and present- 
ments. To consider, for instance, this balmy air which 
is gently waving the branches of a chestnut-tree before 
my eyes what a mysterious element it is ! Powerful 
enough to shipwreck navies, and tear up the deep-grap- 
pling oak, yet so subtle as to be invisible, and so delicate 
as not to wound the naked eye. Naturally imperisha- 
ble, who can imagine all the various purposes to which 
the identical portion may have been applied, which I am 
at this instant inhaling ? Perhaps at the creation it 
served to modulate into words the sublime command, 
" Let there be light," when the blazing sun rolled itself 
together, and upheaved from chaos : perhaps impelled 
by the jealous Zephyrus, it urged Apollo's quoit against 
the blue- veined forehead of Hyacinthus ; it may per- 
chance have filled the silken sails of Cleopatra's vessel, 
as she floated down the Cydnus ; or have burst from the 
mouth of Cicero in the indignant exordium " Quous- 
que tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra ?" or his 



374 GAIKTiES AND GRAVITIES. 

still more abrupt exclamation, " Abiit evasit excessit 
erupit!" It may liave given breath to utter the noble 
dying speeches of Socrates in his prison, of Sir Philip 
Sidney on the plains of Zutphen, of Russell at the block. 
But the same inexhaustible element which would supply 
endless matter for my reflections, may perhaps pass into 
the mouth of the reader, and be vented in a peevish 
* Psha ! somewhat too much of this," and I shall 
therefore hasten to take my leave of him, claiming some 
share of credit, that when so ample a range was before 
me, my speculations should so soon, like the witches in 
Macbeth, have " made themselves air, into which they 
vanished." 



THE FIRST OF MARCH. 

THE bud is in the bough, and the leaf is in the bud, 
And Earth's beginning now in her veins to feel the blood, 
Which, warra'd by summer suns in th' alembic of the vine, 
From her founts will over-run in a ruddy gush of wine. 

The perfume and the bloom that shall decorate the flower, 
Are quickening in the gloom of their subterranean bower; 
And the juices meant to feed trees, vegetables, fruits, 
Unerringly proceed to their pre-appointed roots. 

How awful is the thought of the wonders underground, 
Of the mystic changes wrought in the silent, dark profound; 
How each thing upward tends by necessity decreed, 
And a world's support depends on the shooting of a seed I 

The Summer's in her ark, and this sunny-pinion'd day 

Is commission'd to remark whether Winter holds her sway : 



THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES. 175 

Go back, thou dove of peace, with the myrtle on thy wing, 
Say that floods arid tempests cease, and the world is ripe for 
Spring. 

Thou hast fann'd the sleeping Earth till her dreams are all of 

flowers, 

And the waters look in mirth for their overhanging bowers ; 
The forest seems to listen for the rustle of its leaves, 
And the very skies to glisten in the hope of summer eves. 

Thy vivifying spell has been felt beneath the wave, 
By the dormouse in its cell, and the mole within its cave ; 
And the summer tribes that creep, or in air expand their wing, 
Have started from their sleep at the summons of the Spring. 

The cattle lift their voices from the valleys and the hills, 
And the feather'd race rejoices with a gush of tuneful bills ; 
And if this cloudless arch fills the poet's song with glee, 
O thou sunny first of March, be it dedicate to thee. 



THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES. 



- Nor doth the eye itself, 



That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself, 
Not going from itself; but eyes opposed 

Salute each other with each other's form 

SHAKSPEA.RB. 

THE origin of language is a puzzling point, of which 
no satisfactory solution has yet been offered. Children 
could not originally have compounded it, for they 
would always want intelligence to construct any thing 
so complicated and difficult ; and as it is known that 
after a certain age the organs of speech, if they have 
not been called into play, lose their flexibility, it is con- 




176 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

tended, that adults possessing the faculties to combine a 
new language, would want the power to express it. 
Divine inspiration is the only clue that presents itself in 
this emergency ; and we are then driven upon the in- 
credibility of supposing that celestial ears and organs 
could ever have been instrumental in originating the Low 
Dutch, in which language an assailant of Voltaire drew 
upon himself the memorable retort from the philosopher, 
" That he wished him more wit and fewer consonants.*' 
No one, however, seems to have contemplated the possi- 
bility that Nature never meant us to speak, any more 
than the parrot, to whom she has given similar powers 
of articulation ; or to have speculated upon the extent 
of the substitutes she has provided, supposing that man 
had never discovered the process of representing appe- 
tites, feelings, and ideas by sound. Grief, joy, anger, 
and some of the simple passions, express themselves by 
similar intelligible exclamations in all countries ; these, 
therefore, may be considered as the whole primitive 
language of Nature ; but if she had left the rest of her 
vocabulary to be conveyed by human features and ges- 
tures, man, by addressing himself to the eyes instead of 
the ears, would have still possessed a medium of com- 
munication nearly as specific as speech, with the great 
advantage of its being silent as the telegraph. Talking 
with his features instead of his tongue, he would not 
only save all the time lost in unravelling the subtleties 
of the grammarians from Priscian to Lily and Lindley 
Murray, but he wonld instantly become a cosmopolitan, 
a citizen of the world, and might travel " from old Be- 
lerium to the northern main," without needing an in- 
terpreter. 



THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES. 177 

We are not hastily to pronounce against the possi- 
bility of carrying this dumb eloquence to a certain point 
of perfection, for the experiment has never been fairly 
tried. We know that the exercise of cultivated reason, 
and the arts of civilized life, have eradicated many of 
our original instincts, and that the loss of any one 
sense invariably quickens the others ; and we may 
therefore conjecture that many of the primitive conver- 
sational powers of our face have perished from disuse, 
while we may be certain that those which still remain 
would be prodigiously concentrated and exalted, did 
they form the sole medium by which our mind could 
develope itself. But we have no means of illustrating 
this notion, for the wild boys and men who have from 
time to time been caught in the woods, have been al- 
ways solitaries, who, wanting the stimulus of commu- 
nion, have never exercised their faculties ; while the 
deaf and dumb born among ourselves, early instructed 
to write and talk with their fingers, have never called 
forth their natural resources and instructive powers of 
expression. 

Without going so far as the Frenchman who main- 
tained that speech was given to us to conceal our 
thoughts, it is certain that we may, even now, convey 
them pretty accurately without the intervention of the 
tongue. To a certain extent every body talks with his 
own countenance, and puts faith in the indications of 
those which he encounters. The basis of physiognomy, 
that the face is the silent echo of the heart, is substan- 
tially true ; and to confine ourselves to one feature 
the eye I would ask what language, what oratory 
can be more voluble and instinct with meaning than 
8* 



178 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

the telegraphic glances of the eye ? So convinced are 
we of this property, that we familiarly talk of a man 
having an expressive, a speaking, an eloquent eye. I 
have always had a firm belief th at the celestials have 
no other medium of conversation, but that, carrying on 
a colloquy of glances, they avoid all the wear and tear 
of lungs, and all the vulgarity of human vociferation. 
N ay, we frequently do this ourselves. By a silent in- 
terchange of looks, when listening to a third party, how 
completely may two people keep up a by-play of con- 
versation, and express their mutual incredulity, anger, 
disgust, contempt, amazement, grief, or languor. Speech 
is a laggard and a sloth, but the eyes shoot out an 
electric fluid that condenses all the elements of senti- 
ment and passion in one single emanation. Conceive 
what a boundless range of feeling is included between 
the two extremes of the look serene and the smooth 
brow, and the contracted frown with the glaring eye. 
What varieties of sentiment in the mere fluctuation of 
its lustre, from the fiery flash of indignation to the 
twinkle of laughter, the soft beaming of compassion, 
and the melting radiance of love ! " Oculi sunt in 
amore duces," says Propertius ; an d certainly he who 
has never known the tender passion knows not half the 
copiousness of the ocular language, for it is in those 
prophetic mirrors that every lover first traces the reflec- 
tion of his own attachment, or reads the secret of his 
rejection, long before it is promulgated by the tardy 
tongue. It required very little imagination to fancy a 
thousand Cupids perpetually hovering about the eyes of 
beauty, a conceit which is accordingly found among 
the earliest creations of the Muse. 'Twas not the war- 






THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES. .179 

rior's dart, says Anacreon, that made my bosom 
bleed, 

- No from an eye of liquid blue 
A host of quiver'd Cupids flew, 
And now my heart all bleeding lies 
Beneath this army of the eyes. 

And we may take one specimen from innumerable 
others in the Greek Anthology. 

Archer Love, though slily creeping, 
Well I know where thou dost lie ; 

I saw thee from the curtain peeping 
That fringes Zenophelia's eye. 

The moderns have dallied with similar conceits till 
they have become so frivolous and threadbare as to be 
now pretty nearly abandoned to the inditers of Valen- 
tines, and the manufacturers of Yauxhall songs. 

The old French author Bretonnayau, not content 
with lamenting, like Milton, that so precious an organ 
as the eye should have been so limited and vulnerable, 
considers it, in his " Fabrique de 1'CEil," as a bodily 
sun possessing powers analogous to the solar orb, and 
treats it altogether as a sublime mystery and celestial 
symbol. A short extract may show the profundity of 
his numerical and astronomical views : 

"D'uii de trois et de sept, a Dieu agreVble, 
Fut compose de 1'ceil la machine admirable. 



Le nerf et le christal, Teau et le verre pers, 

Sont les quatre e*l<mens du minime univers ; 

Les sept guimples luisans qui son rondeau contournent, 

Ce sont les sept errans, qui au grand monde tonrnent> 






180 - GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Car le blanc qui recouvre et raffermit nos yeux, 
Nous figure Saturne entre ces petits creux," <fcc. <fec. 

And yet all this mysticism is scarcely more extrava- 
gant than the power of witchcraft or fascination which 
was supposed to reside in the eyes, and obtained im- 
plicit credence in the "past ages. This infection, whe- 
ther malignant or amorous, was generally supposed to 
be conveyed in a slanting regard, that "jealous leer 
malign," with which Satan contemplated the happiness 
of our first parents. 

" Non istic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam 
Limat, non odio obscuro, morsuque venenat," 

says Horace ; and Virgil makes the shepherd exclaim, 
in his third eclogue, 

" Kescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos." 

Basilisks, cockatrices, and certain serpents, were fabled 
not only to have the power of bewitching the birds 
from the air, but of killing men with a look a mode 
of destruction which is now limited to the exaggerations 
of those modern fabulists yclept poets and lovers. 

Every difference of shape is found in this variform 
organ, from the majestic round orb of Homer's ox-eyed 
Juno, to that thin slit from which the vision of a Chi- 
nese lazily oozes forth ; but in this, as in other instan- 
ces, the happy medium is nearest to the line of beauty. 
If there be any deviation, it should be towards the full 
rotund eye, which although it be apt to convey an ex- 
pression of staring hauteur, is still susceptible of great 
dignity and beauty ; while the contrary tendency zip- 






THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES. 181 

proximates continually towards the mean and the sus- 
picious. 

As there is no standard of beauty, there is no pro- 
nouncing decisively upon the question of colour. The 
a ancient classical writers assigned to Minerva, and other 
of the deities, eyes of heaven's own azure as more 
appropriate and celestial. Among the early Italian 
writers, the beauties were generally blondes, being pro- 
bably considered the most estimable on account of their 
rarity ; and Tasso, describing the blue eyes of Armida, 
says with great elegance, 

"Within her humid melting eyes 
A brilliant ray of laughter lies, 
Soft as the broken solar beam 
That trembles in the azure stream." 

Our own writer Collins, speaking of the Circassians, 
eulogizes " Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden 
hair," with more beauty of language than fidelity as 
to fact ; but our poets in general give the palm to that 
which is least common among ourselves, and are ac- 
cordingly enraptured with brunettes and dark eyes. 
When Shakspeare bestowed green eyes upon the mon- 
ster Jealousy, he was not probably aware that about 
the time of the Crusades there was a prodigious pas- 
sion for orbs of this hue. Thiebault, king of Navarre, 
depicting a beautiful shepherdess in one of his songs, 



" La Pastore est bele et avenant> 
Elle a les eus vairs," 

which phrase, however, has been conjectured to mean 



182 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

hazel ; an interpretation which will allow me to join 
issue with his Majesty, and approve his taste. But 
taste itself is so fluctuating, that we may live to see 
the red eye of the Albinos immortalised in verse, or that 
species of plaid recorded by Dryden 

" The balls of his broad eyes roll'd in his head, 
And glared betwixt a yellow and a red." 

For my own part, I decidedly prefer the hue of that 
which is now bent upon the page, for I hold that an 
indulgent eye, like a good horse, cannot be of a bad 
colour. 

My paper would be incomplete without a word or 
two upon eyebrows, which, it is to be observed, are pe- 
culiar to man, and were intended, according to the physi- 
ologists, to prevent particles of dust or perspiration from 
rolling into the eye. Nothing appears to me more im- 
pertinent than the fancied penetration of these human 
moles, who are for ever attributing imaginary intentions 
to inscrutable Nature ; nor more shallow and pedlar-like 
than their resolving every thing into a use ; as if they 
could not see, in the gay colours and delicious perfumes, 
and mingled melodies lavished upon the earth, sufficient 
evidence that the beneficent Creator was not satisfied 
with mere utility, but combined with it a profusion of 
gratuitous beauty and delight. I dare say that they 
would rather find a use for the coloured eyes of Argus 
in the peacock's tail, than admit that the human eye- 
brows could have been bestowed for mere ornament 
and expression. Yet they have been deemed the lead- 
ing indices of various passions. Homer makes them 
the seat of majesty Virgil of dejection Horace of 



ADDRESS TO THE ALABASTER SARCOPHAGUS. 183 

modesty Juvenal of pride and we ourselves consi- 
der them such intelligible exponents of scorn and 
haughtiness, that we have adopted from them our word 
supercilious. In lively faces they have a language of 
their own, and can aptly represent all the sentiments 
and passions of the mind, even when they are purposely 
repressed in the eye. By the workings of a line just 
above a lady's eyebrows, much may be discovered that 
could never be read in the face ; and by this means I 
am enabled to detect in the looks of my fair readers 
such a decided objection to any farther inquisition into 
their secret thoughts, that I deem it prudent to exclaim, 
in the language of Oberon "Lady, I kiss thine eye, 
and so good night." 



ADDRESS TO THE ALABASTER SARCOPHAGUS, 

LATELY DEPOSITED IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM. 

THOU alabaster relic ! while I hold 

My hand upon thy sculptured margin thrown, 
Let me recall the scenes thou couldst unfold, 

Mightst thou relate the changes thou hast known, 
For thou wert primitive in thy formation, 
Launched from th' Almighty's hand at the Creation. 

Yes thou wert present when the stars and skies 
And worlds unnumber'd roll'd into their places; 

When God from Chaos bade the spheres arise, 
And fix'd the blazing sun upon its basis, 

And with his finger on the bounds of space 

Mark'd out each planet's everlasting race. 




184 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

How many thousand ages from thy birth 
Thou sleptst in darkness, it were vain to ask, 

Till Egypt's sons upheaved thee from the earth, 
And year by year pursued their patient task ; 

Till thou wert carved and decorated thus, 

Worthy to be a King's Sarcophagus. 

What time Elijah to the skies ascended, 

Or David reign'd in holy Palestine, 
Some ancient Theban monarch was extended 

Beneath the lid of this emblazon'd shrine, 
And to that subterranean palace borne 
Which toiling ages in the rock had worn. 

Thebes from her hundred portals fill'd the plain 
To see the car on which thou wert upheld : 

What funeral pomps extended in thy train, 

What banners waved, what mighty music swell'd, 

As armies, priests, and crowds, bewail'd in chorus 

Their King their God their Serapis their Orus ! 

Thus to thy second quarry did they trust 
Thee and the Lord of all the nations round. 

Grim King of Silence ! Monarch of the dust ! 

Embalm'd anointed jewell'd scepter'd crown'd, 

Here did he lie in state, cold, stiff, and stark, 

A leathern Pharaoh grinning in the dark. 

Thus ages roll'd but their dissolving breath 
Could only blacken that imprison'd thing, 

Which wore a ghastly royalty in death, 
As if it struggled still to be a King ; 

And each revolving century, like the last, 

Just dropp'd its dust upon thy lid and pass'd. 

' 

The Persian conqueror o'er Egypt pour'd 
His devastating host a motley crew ; 



ADDRESS TO THE ALABASTER SARCOPHAGUS. 185 

The steel-clad horsemen the barbarian horde 

Music and men of every sound and hue 
Priests, archers, eunuchs, concubines and brutes 
Gongs, trumpets, cymbals, dulcimers, and lutes. 

Then did the fierce Cambyses tear away 

The ponderous rock that seal'd the sacred tomb ; 

Then did the slowly penetrating ray 

Redeem thee from long centuries of gloom, 

And lower'd torches flash'd against thy side 

As Asia's king thy blazon'd trophies eyed. 

Pluck'd from his grave, with sacrilegious taunt, 
The features of the royal corpse they scann'd : 

Dashing the diadem from his temple gaunt, 
They tore the sceptre from his graspless hand, 

And on those fields, where once his will was law, 

Left him for winds to waste, and beasts to gnaw. 

Some pious Thebans, when the storm was past^ 
Unclosed the sepulchre with cunning skill, 

And nature, aiding their devotion, cast 
Over its entrance a concealing rill. 

Then thy third darkness came, and thou didst sleep 

Twenty-three centuries in silence deep. 

But he from whom nor pyramid nor sphinx 

Can hide its secrecies, Belzoni, came ; 
From the tomb's mouth unloosed the granite links, 

Gave thee again to light, and life, and fame, 
And brought thee from the sands and desert forth 
To charm the pallid children of the North. 

Thou art in London, which, when thou wert new, 

Was, what Thebes is, a wilderness and waste, ^ 

Where savage beasts more savage men pursue, 
A scene by Nature cursed by man disgraced. 

Now 'tis the world's metropolis the high 

Queen of arms, learning, arts, and luxury. 



186 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Here, where I hold my hand, 'tis strange to think 
What other hands perchance preceded mine ; 

Others have also stood beside thy brink, 
And vainly conn'd the moralizing line. 

Kings, sages, chiefs, that touch'd this stone, like me, 

Where are ye now ? where all must shortly be ! 

All is mutation ; he within this stone 

Was once the greatest monarch of the hour : 

His bones are dust his very name unknown. 
Go learn from him the vanity of power : 

Seek not the frame's corruption to control, 

But build a lasting mansion for thy soul. 



MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON. 

"I, in this kind of merry fooling, am nothing to you ; so you may con- 
tinue and laugh at nothing still." The Tempest, 

THIS is the age for Memoirs, particularly of royalty. 
Napoleon is making almost as much noise after his 
death as he did in his life- time ; Marie Antoinette, by 
the assistance of Madame de Campan, has obtained a 
revival of her notoriety ; and Louis Dix-huit has effect- 
ed his escape to Coblentz only to fall into the claws of 
the critics, by proving that every king is not a Solomon. 
This epidemic is understood to be spreading among the 
rulers of the earth, and several of the London booksell- 
ers have already started for different capitals of Eu- 
r rope, for the purpose, it is said, of treating with crown- 
ed authors. Fortunately there is no royal road to 
biography, any more than to geometry ; the right di- 
vine does not include all the good writing, nor has 



MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON. 187 

legitimacy any exclusive alliance with Priscian. Men 
who have brains inside may scribble as well as those 
who have crowns outside ; beggars and thieves have 
given their own lives to the public ; nay, even things 
inanimate a wonderful lamp, a splendid shilling, a 
guinea, have found historians ; why then should the 
lords of the creation have all the Memoirs to them- 
selves ? or why may not we immortalise " The Haunch 
of Mutton ?" which, for aught that appears to the con- 
trary, may claim a rectilinear descent from the Royal 
Ram eternized by Mother Bunch, and so be entitled to 
rank with the best imperial or kingly records that are 
now issuing from the Row. Into this investigation, cu- 
rious as it would be, it is not my purpose to enter ; it 
would be irrelevant to my title, which has only refe- 
rence to sheep after they are dead, and designated as 
mutton ; but I cannot refrain from noticing that, even 
in this point of view, the subject I have chosen is poet- 
ical : for a poet, like a Merino or South Down, is annu- 
ally fleeced and sheared, and at last cut up by the crit- 
ical dissectors : but he is no sooner dead than he 
acquires a new name ; we sit down to his perusal with 
great satisfaction, make repeated extracts which we find 
entirely to our taste, and talk complacently of his rich 
vein, ready flow, his sweetness, tenderness, and so forth. 
Suffice it to say, that the sheep from which our hero, 
/. e. our haunch, was cut, drew breath in the pastures 
of Farmer Blewett, of Sussex, whose brother, Mr. Wil- 
liam Blewett, (commonly called Billy), of Great St. He- 
len's, in the city of London, is one of the most eminent 
Indigo-brokers in the Metropolis. The farmer having a 
son fourteen years of age, whom he was anxious to 



188 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

place in the counting house of the said Billy, very pru- 
dently began by filling his brother's mouth before he 
opened his own, and had accordingly sent him an enor- 
mous turkey at Christmas, a side of fat bacon at Easter, 
and at Midsummer the identical haunch of South Down 
mutton whose dissection and demolition we have under- 
taken to immortalise. Ever attentive to the main chance, 
the broker began to calculate that if he asked three or 
four friends to dine with him he could only eat mutton 
for one, while he would have to find wine for the whole 
party ; whereas, if he presented it to Alderman Sir 
Peter Pumpkin, of Broad-street, who was a dear lover 
of good mutton, and had besides lately received a con- 
signment of Indigo of which he was anxious to propi- 
tiate the brokerage, he might not only succeed in that 
object, but be probably asked to dinner, get his full 
share of the haunch, and drink that wine which he pre- 
ferred to all others videlicet, that which he tippled at 
other people's expense. Whether or not he succeeded 
in the former aim, our documents do not testify ; but 
certain it is, that he was invited to partake of the haunch 
in Broad-street, (not being deemed a presentable per- 
sonage at the Baronet's establishment in Devonshire- 
place); Mr. Robert Rule, Sir Peter's Bookkeeper and 
head clerk, who presided over the City household, was 
asked to meet him, as well as his nephew, Mr. Henry 
Pumpkin, a young collegian, whose affection for his 
uncle induced him to run up to London whenever his 
purse became attenuated, and who, in his progress to- 
wards qualifying himself for the church, had already 
learnt to tie a cravat, drive a tandem, drink claret, and 
make bad puns. Four persons, as the Baronet observ- 



MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON. 189 

ed, were quite enough for a haunch of mutton, and too 
many for one of venison. 

" I shouldn't have waited for you, Harry," exclaimed 
the Baronet, as his nephew entered. "No occasion, 
Sir ; I am always punctual Boileau says, that the time 
a man makes a company wait for him is always spent 
in discovering his faults." " Does he ? then he's a sen- 
sible fellow ; and if he's a friend of yours, you might 
have brought him to dinner with you. But you needn't 
have made yourself such a dandy, Harry, merely to 
dine at the counting-house." " Why, Sir, as I expected 
the dinner to be well dressed for me, I thought I could 
not do less than return the compliment." " Ha ! ha ! 
ha ! do you hear that, Billy ? not a bad one, was it ? 
Egad, Harry doesn't go to College for nothing. But 
there's the ' Change clock chiming for five, and we 
ought to have dinner. Ay, I remember when four was 
the hour, and a very good hour too." "I lately tum- 
bled upon a letter of Addison's to Swift," interrupted 
Henry, "dated 29th Feb. 1707, inviting him to meet 
Steele and Frowde at the George, in Pall-mall, at two 
o'clock, which was then the fashionable hour. And 
apropos of haunches, I remember reading, that in 1720, 
the year of the South Sea bubble, owing to the fancied 
riches suddenly flowing in upon the citizens, a haunch 
of venison rose to the then unexampled value of five 
guineas, so that deer were dear indeed for one season." 
" A fine thing to have been owner of a herd that year," 
said Mr. Blewett. " Capital !" observed Mr. Rule, with 
an emphatic jerk of the head. " In the mean time, 
where is our haunch of mutton ?" inquired the Alder- 
man : " do, pray, Mr. Rule, see about it the cook used 



190 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

to be punctual, and it is now two minutes and a half 
past five." Mr. Rule bowed and disappeared, but pre- 
sently returned, announcing that dinner was served. 

Sir Peter sat at the head of the table, and as Philip 
the servant was about to remove the cover, laid his hand 
upon his arm to stop him, until he was provided with 
a hot plate, vegetables, and sweet sauce, so as to be all 
ready for the attack when the trenches were opened. 
" Beautiful !" he exclaimed, as the joint was revealed to 
him ; " done to a turn admirably frothed up !" So ex- 
claiming, he helped himself plenteously to the best 
part, and pushing away the dish said, " he had no doubt 
the others would rather help themselves." Mr. Rule, 
who had not yet achieved independence enough to be 
clownish, volunteered to supply his neighbours, which 
he did so clumsily, that Harry declared he should never 
be his joint executor ; and Mr. Blewett applied his more 
experienced hand to the task. For the first ten min- 
utes so much went into the Baronet's mouth that there 
was no room for a single word to come out ; but, as his 
voracity became gratified, he found leisure to ask his 
guests to drink wine, and to cackle at intervals what 
he termed some of his good stories. " Clever fellow, 
King Charles : they called him the mutton-eating King, 
didn't they ? cut off his head, though, for all that 
stopped his mutton-eating, egad ! I say, Billy, did I 
tell you what I said t'other day to Tommy Daw, the 
bill-broker ? Tommy's a Bristol man, you know : well, I 
went down to Bristol about our ship, the Fanny, that 
got ashore there." " The Fanny, Capt. Tyson, was in 
Dock at the time," interrupted Rule ; " it was the Ad- 
venture, Capt. Hacklestone, that got ashore." " Well, 






MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON. 191 

well, never mind where was I ? O, ay ; so says 
Tommy to me when I came back, Is Betsey Bayley as 
handsome as ever? who bears the bell now at Bristol ? 
Why, says I the bellman, to be sure ! Ha ! ha ! 
ha ! ha ! Egad, I thought Tommy would have burst 
his sides with laughing. Who bears the bell at Bris- 
tol? says he. Why, the bellman, says I. Capital, 
wasn't it ?" " Capital !" ejaculated Mr. Rule, with a 
most decisive energy. 

" It's a pity this stewed beefsteak at the bottom 
should be wasted," said Blewett ; " nobody tastes it." 
" It won't be wasted," replied Harry, " it economizes our 
dinner." "How so?" "Because it serves to make 
both ends meet" " Aha ! Billy," roared the Baronet, 
"he had you there. I told you Harry didn't go to Col- 
lege for nothing." " By the by, Sir," continued the ne- 
phew, " did you ever hear of Shakspeare's receipt for 
dressing a beefsteak ?" " Shakspeare's ! no the best 
I ever ate were at Dolly's ; but what is it ?" " Why, 
sir, he puts it into the mouth of Macbeth, where he 
makes him exclaim 'If it were done, when 'tis done, 
then it were well 'twere done quickly.' " " Good ! 
good !" cackled the Baronet, " but I said a better thing 
than Shakspeare last week. You know Jack Foster 
the common council-man, ugly as Buckhorse gives fa- 
mous wine though ; well, we were talking about the 
best tavern (I'll thank you for some sweet sauce, Mr. 
Rule) ; and so says I (and a little of the brown fat, 
if you please) and so says I Jack, I never see your 
face without thinking of a good dinner. i Why so ?' 
says Jack. Because it's ordinary every day at two 
o'clock, says I." Here the Baronet was seized with such 



192 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

a violent fit of laughter, that it brought on an alarming 
attack of coughing and expectoration ; but he no soon- 
er recovered breath enough than he valiantly repeated, 
" Why, so, Jack ? Because it's ordinary at two o'clock, 
says I:" which he followed up with a new cackle, 
while Mr. Rule delivered himself most dogmatically of 
another " Capital !" and relapsed into his usual solemnity. 

"The greatest compliment ever offered to this joint," 
resumed the nephew, " proceeded from a popular actor 
now living, who deemed it the ne plus ultra of epicur- 
ism. Having been a long time in London without see- 
ing Richmond Hill, he was taken by some friends to 
enjoy that noble view, then in the perfection of its sum- 
mer beauty. The day was fine every thing propitious : 
they led him up the hill and along the dead wall till he 
reached the Terrace, where the whole glorious vision 
burst upon him with such an overpowering effect, that 
he could only exclaim, in the intensity of his ecstasy, 
i A perfect Haunch, by Heaven !' " 

" You will be at Kemble's sale to-morrow, Sir Peter !" 
inquired Blewett. "What !" replied the nephew, " are 
poor John Philip's books to be sold ? I shall attend 
certainly. I understand he possessed the first edition 
of Piers Plowman The Maid's Tragedy Gammer 
Gurton's Needle, and " " Hoity toity !" interrupt- 
ed Sir Peter : " what the deuce is the lad chattering 
about?" "Bless me, Mr. Henry," cried Rule, "you 
have surely seen the catalogue of the great sale in Minc- 
ing-lane, 1714 bales of Pernambuco cotton, 419 of 
Maranham, 96 hogsheads and 14 tierces of Jamaica 
sugar, 311 bags of coffee, and 66 casks of Demerara 
cocoa. I believe I can favour you with a perusal of the 



MEMOIRS OF A HAUNCH OF MUTTON. 193 

catalogue, with all tbe best lots marked." "Infinitely 
obliged to you," replied Harry, " but I had rather under- 
go the lot of being knocked down myself." 

" Aha !" exclaimed the Baronet, with a look of 
gloating delight ; " now we shall get on again. Here 
comes the Argyle with some hot gravy ; that was a 
famous invention." " Nothing like it," replied Harry, 
"in the Marquis of Worcester's whole Century. A 
distinguished writer desires one of our noble families to 
consider the name of Spenser the poet as the fairest 
jewel in their coronet. May we not extend the same 
remark to the ducal race, whose name will, by this dis- 
covery, be constantly in our mouths?" "Ay, and 
whose celebrity will thus be kept up, hot and hot," 
added Sir Peter. " Egad, I'll drink their healths in a 
bumper, and take another slice upon the strength of 
it. One ought to encourage such ingenious improve- 
ments." 

" I am afraid, Sir Peter, that the best side's all gone," 
said Mr. Blewett, with a whine of pretended regret, 
which had a prospective reference to the brokerage on 
the indigo. "That I beg leave to deny," retorted Har- 
ry, " for it is one of the Peptic precepts, that in politics 
and gastronomy, the best side is that where there is 
most to be got, and there are still a few slices left under 
the bone." " If we had a good stimulating sauce now," 
said the Alderman, " I could still go on." " But there," 
continued the nephew, " we are still nearly as deficient 
as we were in the time of Louis Quatorze, whose am- 
bassador at London complained that he had been sent 
among a set of barbarians, who had twenty religions 
and only three fish-sauces." " Why, Billy," cried the 
9 



194 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



Alderman to Blewett, " you seem as down in the mouth 
as the root of my tongue ; blue as your own indigo." 
" That's a famous lot of Guatimola you have just re- 
ceived, Sir Peter, by the Two Sisters, Capt Framlingham : 
may I call to take samples?" "We'll talk of that by 
and by, Billy : meantime take a sample of port ; help 
yourself." "He can't help himself, poor fellow," said 
Harry, "for the bottle's empty." The Baronet nodded 
to Rule, who instantly betook himself to a basket in 
the corner of the room, and began decanting another 
with mathematical precision. " Take care, Rule, it won't 
bear shaking ; I have had it fourteen years in bottle." 
" And port wine," observed Harry, " is like mankind 
the older it gets, the more crusty it becomes, and the 
less will it bear being disturbed." "A little tawny," 
said the uncle, smacking his lips ; " I doubt whether 
this is out of the right bin." " No, sir," replied the ne- 
phew ; " this seems to be out of the has been. Troja 
fuit : but you have got some prime claret." " Ay, ay, 
we'll have a touch at that after the cloth's cleared ; but 
will nobody take another mouthful of the haunch ? the 
meat was short, crisp, and tender, just as it ought to be." 
"Capital !" ejaculated Rule with a momentary anima- 
tion, succeeded by his habitual look of formality. " Then 
the table may be cleared," continued the Alderman : " but 
zooks ! Harry, how comes it you never said grace be- 
fore dinner ?" " You were in such a hurry, Sir, that 
you forgot to ask me : it was but last week you called 
me a scapegrace, and I may now retort the epithet." 
" Say grace now, then, saucebox." " I have not yet 
taken orders, Sir Peter." "Yes you have, you have ta- 
ken mine ; so out with it." Harry compressed the ben- 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY. 195 

ediction into five words the cloth was removed a 
bottle of Chateau Margaud was placed upon the table 
to his infinite consolation the talk quickened with the 
circulation of the wine, and many good things were ut- 
tured which we regret that we cannot commemorate 
without travelling out of the record, as our subject 
ceased with the dinner, being expressly confined to the 
" Memoirs of a Haunch of Mutton." 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY! 

PROPOSALS FOR THEIR SUPPRESSION. 

I'm bubbled, I'm bubbled, 
Oh, how I am troubled, 
Bamboozled and bit ! 

BEGGAR'S OPERA. 

Salve magna parens ! All hail to the parent Soci- 
ety for the Suppression of Mendicity ! so far from im- 
pugning its merits, I would applaud them to the very 
echo that should applaud again, always thanking 
Heaven that it was not established before the days of 
Homer, Belisarius, and Bampfylde Moore Carew, in 
which case he should have had three useful fictions the 
less, and lost three illustrations that have done yeo- 
man's service, in pointing many a moral, and tagging 
as many tales. That I reverence the existing Associa- 
tion, and duly appreciate its benevolent exertions, is best 
evidenced by my proposal for a Branch or Subsidiary 
Company, not to interfere with duties already so fully 
and zealously discharged, but to take cognizance of va- 



196 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

rious classes of sturdy beggars who do not come within 
the professed range of the original Institution. Men- 
dicity is not confined to the asking of alms in the pub- 
lic streets ; it is not the exclusive profession of rags and 
wretchedness, of the cripple and the crone, but is openly 
practised by able-bodied and well-dressed vagrants of 
both sexes, who, eluding the letter of the law while 
they violate its spirit, call loudly for the interference of 
some such repressive establishment as that which I am 
now advocating, When I inform the reader that I 
live by my wits, he will at once comprehend the tenuity 
of my circumstances ; and when I hint that I enact the 
good Samaritan to the best of my slender ability, in all 
such cases as fall within my own observation, he will not 
wonder that I should wish to provide some sort of ama- 
teur Bridewell for such personages as my neighbour 
Miss Spriggins. 

This lady is universally acknowledged to be one of 
the very best creatures in the world, which is the reason, 
I suppose, why she never married, there being no in- 
stance, out of the records of Dunmow, of any wife of 
that description. Her unoccupied time and affections 
followed the usual routine in such cases made and pro- 
vided ; that is to say, she became successively a bird- 
breeder, a dog-fancier, a blue-stocking, and lastly, the 
Lady Bountiful, not of our village only, (that I could 
tolerate,) but of the whole district ; in which capacity 
she constitutes a general dep6t for all the misfortunes 
that really happen, and a great many of those that do 
not. Scarcely a week elapses that she does not call 
upon me with a heart-rending account of a poor old 
woman who has lost her cow, a small farmer whose hay- 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY. 197 

stack has been burnt down, a shopkeeper whose premi- 
ses have been robbed of his whole stock, or a widow 
who has been left with seven small children, the eldest 
only six years old, and that one a cripple, and the poor 
mother likely to add to the number in a few weeks ; 
upon which occasions the subscription list is produced, 
beginning with the name of Sir David Dewlap, the 
great army contractor, and followed by those of nabobs, 
bankers, merchants, and brokers, (for I live but a few 
miles westward of London,) by whom a few pounds of 
money can no more be missed from their pockets, than 
the same quantity of fat from their sides. My visitant, 
knowing the state of my purse, is kind enough to point 
out to my observation that some have given so low as a 
half-sovereign ; but then she provokingly adds, that 
even Mr. Tag, a brother-scribbler in the village, has 
put his name down for ten shillings, and surely a per- 
son of my superior talents . Here she smirks, and 

bows, and leaves off; and, partly in payment for her 
compliment, partly to prove that I can write twice as 
well as Mr. Tag, I find it impossible to effect my ransom 
for less than a sovereign. Thus does this good creature 
torment me in every possible way : first, by bringing 
my feelings in contact with all the miseries that have 
occurred or been trumped up in the whole county ; and 
secondly, by compelling me to disbursements which I am 
conscious I cannot afford. Nor have I even the common 
consolations of charity ; for, feeling that I bestow my 
money with an ill-will, from false pride or pique, I ac- 
cuse myself at once of vanity and meanness, of penury 
and extravagance. This most worthy nuisance and in- 
satiable beggar is the very first person I should recom- 



198 CAIKi !KS AND GRAVITIES. 



mend to the notice of the proposed Society ; and I 
hope they will be quick, or I shall myself be upon her 
list. / shall be soon suppressed, if she is not. 

That the clergyman of the parish should put me in 
spiritual jeopardy whenever he preaches a charity ser- 
mon, threatening me with all sorts of cremation if I do 
not properly contribute to the collection, is a process to 
which I can submit patiently ; for though his fulniina- 
tions may be alarming, his is not the power that can 
enforce them. But I do hold it to be a downright 
breach of the peace, that Sir David Dewlap aforesaid, 
and Doctor Allbury, should take their station on each 
side of the church-door, thrusting in one's face a silver 

o 

plate, in such cases quite as intimidating as a pistol, and 
exclaiming in looks and actions, if not in words 
" Stand and deliver !" The former is the bashaw of the 
village, whose fiat can influence the reception or exclu- 
sion of all those who mix in the better sort of society, 
while his custom can mar or make half the shopkeepers 
of the place. The latter is our principal house proprie- 
tor, and really quarter-day comes round so excessively 
quick, that it is never quite convenient to be out of the 
good graces of one's landlord. It is precisely on ac- 
count of the undue influence they can thus exercise, 
that they undertake this species of legal extortion and 
robbery, for it deserves no better name. Is it not as 
bad to put us in mental or financial, as in bodily fear ' 
and is it not a greater offence when practised on the 
Lord's highway (the churchyard), than even on the 
King's ? Every farthing thus given, beyond what would 
otherwise have been bestowed, is so much swindled out 
of our pockets, or torn from us by intimidation, unless 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY. 199 

we admit the possibility of compulsory free-will offerings. 
I am a Falstaff, and hate to give money, any more than 
reasons, upon compulsion : I submit, indeed, but it is 
an involuntary acquiescence. The end, I may be told, 
sanctifies the means : charity covereth a multitude of 
sins ; true : but undue influence and extortion on the 
one side, hypocrisy and heart-burning on the other 
these are not charity, nor do they hold any affinity with 
that virtue, whose quality is not strained, " but droppeth 
as the gentle dew from heaven." Does the reader re- 
collect a fine old grizzle-headed Silenus-faced demi-Her- 
cules, of a cripple, who, with short crutches, and his 
limbless trunk on a kind of sledge, used to shovel briskly 
along the streets of London ? Disdaining to ask an 
alms, this counterpart of the Elgin Theseus would 
glance downwards at his own mutilated form, and up- 
wards at the perfect one of the passengers, to whom he 
left it to draw the inference ; and if this silent appeal 
failed to extract even a sympathizing look, he would, 
sometimes, in the waywardness of his mighty heart, 
wish " that the Devil might have them," (as who shall 
say he will not ?) In his paternal pride, he had 
sworn to give a certain sum as a marriage-portion to his 
daughter ; it was nearly accomplished, and he was 
stumping his painful rounds for its completion, when he 
was assailed by certain myrmidons as a vagabond, and, 
after a Nemsean resistance, was laid in durance vile. 
Was not his an end that might indeed sanctify the 
means ? And shall a man like this be held a beggar 
by construction, when such symbolic mendicants and 
typical pickpockets as Sir David Dewlap and Doctor 
Allbury may hold their plates at our throats, and rob 



200 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

us with impunity ? No if I have any influence with 
the new Society, one of its earliest acts shall be the 
commitment of these Corinthian caterers to Bridewell, 
that they may dance a week's saraband together to the 
dainty measure of the Tread-Mill. 

There is another class of eleemosynaries, who would 
be indignant at the appellation of Almsmen, since they 
make an attack upon your purse under the independent 
profession of Borrowers, while they are most valorous 
professors also (but most pusillanimous performers) of 
repayment. If they be gentry of whom one would fairly 
be quit for ever, I usually follow the Vicar of Wake- 
field's prescription, who was accustomed to lend a great- 
coat to one, an old horse to a second, a few pounds to 
a third, and seldom was troubled by their reappearance. 
If they be indifferent parties, whom one may reasonably 
hope to fob oft* with banter and evasion, I quote to them 
from Shakspeare 

" Neither a borrower nor a lender be ; 
For loan oft loses both itself and friend, 
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry." 

Be they matter-of-fact fellows, who apprehend not a 
joke, I show them my empty purse, which, Heaven 
knows, is no joke to me, while it is the best of all ar- 
guments to them. But be they men of pith and prom- 
ise, friends whom I well esteem and would long pre- 
serve, I refuse them at once ; for these are companions 
whom I cannot afford to lose, and whom a loan would 
not long allow me to keep. Those who may be cooled 
by a refusal would have been alienated by an acquies- 
cence. Friendship, to be permanent, must be perfectly 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY. 201 



independent ; for such is the pride of the human heart, 
that it cannot receive a favour without a feeling of hu- 
miliation, and it will almost unconsciously harbour a 
constant wish to lower the value of the gift by dimin- 
ishing that of the donor. Ingratitude is an effort to re- 
cover our own esteem by getting rid of our esteem for 
a benefactor ; and when once self-love opposes our love 
of another, it soon vanquishes its adversary. We es- 
teem benefactors as we do tooth-drawers, who have 
cured us of one pain by inflicting another. For the 
rich I am laying down no rules ; they may afford to 
lose their friends as well as money, for they can com- 
mand more of each ; we who stand under the frown of 
Plutus, must be economists of both, and it is for the 
benefit of such classes that I would have the whole 
brotherhood of mendicants, calling themselves borrowers, 
sentenced to the House of Correction not till they had 
paid their debts, for that would be equivalent to perpet- 
ual imprisonment, but until they had sincerely forgiven 
their old friends for lending them money, and placed 
themselves in a situation to acquire new ones by a 
promise never to borrow any more. 

A fourth description of beggars, not less pestilent in 
their visitations, are the fellows who are constantly com- 
ing to beg that you will lend them a book, which they 
will faithfully return in eight or ten days, for which you 
may substitute years, and be no nearer to the recovery of 
your property. It is above that period since some of 
my friends have begged the second volume of Tom 
Brown's Works, the first of Bayle's Dictionary, Phineas 
Fletcher's Purple Island, and various others, whose 
absence creates many a " hiatus valde deflendus " in my 
9* 



202 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

bookshelves, which, like so many open mouths, cry 
aloud to heaven against the purloiners of odd volumes 
and the decimators of sets. Books are a sort of fera> 
naturce to these poachers that have " nulla vestigia re- 
trorsum ;" they pretend to have forgotten where they 
borrowed them, and then claim them as strays ami 
waifs. You may know the number of a man's friends 
by the vacancies in his library ; and if he be one of the 
best fellows in the world, his shelves will assuredly be 
empty. Possession is held to be nine points in law, but 
with friends of this class unlawful possession is the best 
of all titles ; for print obliterates property, meurn and 
tuum cannot be bound up in calf or morocco, and 
honour and honesty cease to be obligatory in all matters 
of odd volumes. Beggars of this quality might with 
great propriety be sent to the counting-houses of the 
different prisons and penitentiaries, where their literary 
abilities might be rendered available by employing 
them as book-keepers, a business in which they have 
already exhibited so much proficiency. One day for 
every octavo, two for a quarto, and three for every folio, 
of which they could not give a satisfactory account, 
would probably be deemed an adequate punishment. 

The last species of mendicants whom I should re- 
commend to the new Suppression Society, and whom, 
judging by my own experience, I should pronounce the 
most importunate and unreasonable of any, are the 
young and old ladies, from the boarding-school Miss to 
the Dowager Blue-stocking, who, in the present rage 
for albums and autographs, ferret out all unfortunate 
writers, from the Great Unknown, whom every body 
knows, down to the illustrious obscure whom uobo<l , 



BEGGARS EXTRAORDINARY. 203 

knows, and beg them just to write a few lines for in- 
sertion in their repository. If they will even throw out 
baits to induce so mere a minnow as myself to nibble 
at a line, what must they do for the Tritons and Levi- 
athans of literature! Friends, aunts, cousins, neigh- 
bours, all are put in requisition, and made successively 
bearers of the neat morocco-bound begging-book. 
Surely, Mr. Higginbotham, you will not refuse me, 
when I know you granted the same favour to Miss Bar- 
nacles, Miss Scroggs, Mrs. Scribbleton, and many others. 
Besides, it is so easy for you to compose a few stanzas ! 
Gadzooks ! these folks seem to think one can write 
sense as fast as they talk nonsense that poetry comes 
spontaneously to the mouth, as if we were born impro- 
visatori, and could not help ourselves. I believe, how- 
ever, that few will take the trouble to read that which 
has not occasioned some trouble to write ; and even if 
their supposition were true, we have the authority of 
Dr. Johnson for declaring that no one likes to give away 
that by which he lives : " You, Sir," said he, turning 
to Thrale, " would rather give away money than beer." 
And to come a-begging of such impoverished wits as 
mine Corpo di Bacco ! it is robbing the Spittal put- 
ting their hands in the poorbox taking that " which 
naught enrich etli them, and makes me poor indeed " 
doing their best to create a vacuum, which Na- 
ture abhors : and as to assuming that compliance 
costs nothing, this is the worst mendicity of all, for 
it is even begging the question. No, I cannot recom- 
mend to the new Society any extension of indulgence 
towards offenders of this class. The ladies, old and 
young, should be condemned to Bridewell, (not that I 



204 .. \IK-1IK3 AND ORAVITIK-. 

mean any play upon the word,) there to be dieted upon 
bread and water until they had completely filled one 
another's albums with poetry of their own composing; 
after which process, I believe they might be turned loose 
upon society without danger of their resuming the 
trade of begging. Other mendicant nuisances occur to 
me, for whose suppression the proposed Institution would 
be held responsible ; but I have filled my limits for the 
present, and shall therefore leave them to form the sub- 
ject of a future communication. 



STANZAS TO PUNCHINELLO. 

THOU lignum-vitae Roscius, who 
Dost the old vagrant stage renew, 

Peerless, inimitable Punchinello ! 
The Queen of smiles is quite outdone 
By thee, all-glorious king of fun, 

Thou grinning, giggling, laugh-extorting fellow I 

At other times mine ear is wrung 
Whene'er I hear the trumpet's tongue, 

Waking associations melancholic ; 
But that which heralds thee recalls 
All childhood's joys and festivals, 

And makes the heart rebound with freak and frolic. 

Ere of thy face I get a snatch, 
with what boyish glee I catch 

Thy twittering, cackling, bubbling, squeaking gibber- 
Sweeter than syren voices fraught 
With richer iin-miiK'nt UIMII might 

That drops from witling mouths, though utter'd glibber! 



STANZAS TO PUNCHINELLO. 205 

What wag was ever known before 
To keep the circle in a roar, 

Nor wound the feelings of a single hearer ? 
Engrossing all the jibes and jokes, 
Unenvied by the duller folks, 

A harmless wit an unmalignant jeerer. 

The upturn'd eyes I love to trace 

Of wondering mortals, when their face 

Is all alight with an expectant gladness ; 
To mark the flickering giggle first, 
The growing grin the sudden burst, 

And universal shout of merry madness. 

I love those sounds to analyse, 
From childhood's shrill ecstatic cries, 

To age's chuckle with its coughing after ; 
To see the grave and the genteel 
Rein in awhile the mirth they feel, 

Then loose their muscles, and let out the laughter. 

Sometimes I note a hen-peck'd wight, 
Enjoying thy marital might, 

To him a beatific beau-ideal ; 
He counts each crack on Judy's pate, 
Then homeward creeps to cogitate 

The difference 'twixt dramatic wives and real. 

But> Punch, thou'rt ungallant and rude 
In plying thy persuasive wood ; 

Remember that thy cudgel's girth is fuller 
Than that compassionate, thumb-thick, 
Established wife-compelling stick, 

Made legal by the dictum of Judge Buller. 

When the officious doctor hies 

To cure thy spouse, there's no surprise 

Thou shouldst receive him with nose-tweaking grappling ; 



206 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



Nor can we wonder that the mob 
Encores each crack upon his nob, 

When thou art feeing him with oaken sapling. 

As for our common enemy 
Old Nick, we all rejoice to see 

The coup de grace that silences his wrangle ; 
But, lo, Jack Ketch ! ah, welladay ! 
Dramatic justice claims its prey, 

And thou in hempen handkerchief must dangle. 

Now helpless hang those arms which once 
Rattled such music on the sconce ; 

Hush'd is that tongue which late out-jested Yorick ; 
That hunch behind is shrugg'd no more, 
No longer heaves that paunch before, 

"Which swagg'd with such a pleasantry plethoric. 

But Thespian deaths are transient woes, 
And still less durable are those 

Suffer' d by lignum-vitae malefactors ; 
Thou wilt return, alert, alive, 
And long, oh long may'st thou survive, 

First of head-breaking and side-splitting actors! 



FIRST LETTER TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY. 

" Our court shall be a little academy." SUAKSPEAHE. 

" Doctor, I want you to inend my cacology." Heir at Law. 

CANDOUR requires, Mr. Secretary, that I should com- 
mence my letter by confessing the doubts I once enter- 
tained as to the necessity of any such establishment as 
that which I have now the honour to address ; for, at a 
time when our booksellers evince such unprecedented 



LETTER TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY. 207 

munificence, that no author of the least merit is left un- 
rewarded, while all those of superior talent acquire 
wealth as well as fame, it did appear to me that our 
w i-iters needed no chartered patrons or royal remunera- 
tors. At the first public meeting, however, of the 
Society, the President having most logically urged the 
propriety of such an institution, because this country 
had become " pre-eminently distinguished by its works 
of history, poetry, and philology," without the assistance 
of any corporate academy ; while they had long 
possessed one in France, (where literature had been 
notoriously stationary or retrograde from the period of 
its establishment), I could not resist the force of this 
double argument, and am now not only convinced that 
it is necessary to give to our literature "a corporate 
character and representation," but prepared, as far as my 
humble abilities extend, to forward the objects of the 
Society, by hastening to accept its invitation for public 
contributions. Aware that the model of the French 
Academy should always be kept in view, and remem- 
bering the anecdote recorded by M. Grimm, one of its 
members, who died in the greatest grammatical dilem- 
ma as to whether he should say " Je m'en vais," or, 
"je m'en va, dans 1'autre monde," I shall limit my at- 
tention to considerations of real importance, particularly 
to such as may conduce " to the improvement of our 
language, and the correction of capricious deviations 
from its native purity," such being one of the main ob- 
jects proposed in the President's address. Not having 
time, in this my first letter, to methodize all my sug- 
gestions, I shall loosely throw upon paper such observa- 



208 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

tions as have occurred to me in a hasty and superficial 
view of the subject. 

Nothing forms so violent a deviation from philo- 
logical purity as a catachresis. We sneer at the slip- 
slop of uneducated life, and laugh at Mrs. Malaprop 
upon the stage ; yet what so common in colloquial lan- 
guage as to hear people talk of wooden tombstones, 
iron milestones, glass ink-horns, brass shoeing-horns, 
iron coppers, and copper hand-irons ? We want a sub- 
stitute for the phrase going on board an iron steamboat, 
and a new verb for expressing its motion, which is neither 
sailing nor rowing : these are desiderata which the 
Society cannot too speedily supply, considering the pro- 
digious extension of that mode of conveyance. Many 
expressions are only catachrestical in sound, yet require 
emendation as involving an apparently ludicrous con- 
tradiction : such, for instance, as the farmer's speech to 
a nobleman at Newmarket, whose horse had lost the 
first race and won the second : " Your horse, my lord, 
was very backward in coming forward ; he was behind 
before, but he's first at last." I myself lately encoun- 
tered a mounted friend in Piccadilly, who told me he 
was going to carry his horse to Tattersall's, whereas the 
horse was carrying him thither, an absurdity which 
could not occur in France, where (owing, doubtless, to 
the Academy) they have the three words porter, mener, 
and amener, which prevent all confusion of that nature, 
unless when spoken by the English, who uniformly 
misapply them. All blackberries being of a wan or 
rosy hue in their unripe state, we may with perfect truth 
affirm, that every blackberry is either white or red when 
it is green ; which sounds like a violent catachresis, and 



LETTER TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY. 209 



on that account demands some new verbal modification. 
Nothing is so likely to corrupt the taste of the fm- 
givorous generation as any looseness of idea connected 
with this popular berry. By the structure of our lan- 
guage, many repetitions of the same word occasionally 
occur, for which some remedy should be provided by 
the Society. U I affirm," said one writing-master, dis- 
puting with another about the word " that," written by 
their respective pupils, " I affirm that that ' That' that 
that boy has written, is better than the other." Here 
the same word occurs five times in succession ; and 
many similar examples might be adduced, but enough 
has been urged to prove the necessity of prompt inter- 
ference on the part of the Society. 

In our common oaths, exclamations, and interjec- 
tions, there is much room for Academical supervision. 
For the vulgar phrase, " All my eye and Betty Martin," 
we might resume the Latin of the monkish hymn which 
it was meant to burlesque " O mini, beate Martine !" 
It may be doubted whether we could with propriety 
compel all conjurors to adopt the original " hoc est 
corpus," pronounced in one of the ceremonies of the 
Romish church, which they have irreverently corrupted 
into hocus-pocus ; but we may indisputably restore the 
hilariter-celeriter, which has been metamorphosed into 
the term helter-skelter. It would be highly desirable to 
give a more classical turn to this department of our lan- 
guage. The Italian " Corpo di Bacco !" might be 
beneficially imported ; and in fact there is no good rea- 
son why the JEdepol ! Hercle ! Proh pudor ! Proh 
nefas ! Proh deum atque hominum fides ! and other 
interjections of the ancients, might not be brought to 



210 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

supersede those Billingsgate oaths, which are not only 
very cacophonous, revolting, and profane, but liable to 
what their utterers may think a more serious objection 
a fine of one shilling each. 

Some remedy should be provided for the incon- 
veniences arising from the omission or misapplication <>f 
the aspirate H, to which some of our cockney tribe are 
so incurably addicted. It is upon record, that a Lord 
Mayor, in addressing King William, called him a Nero, 
meaning to say a hero ; and no longer ago than last 
season, Miss Augusta Tibbs, daughter of a respectable 
slopseller in Great St. Helen's, entering Margate by a 
lane that skirted the cliff, and calling repeatedly to the 
post-boy to drive nearer the edge (meaning the hedge 
on the opposite side of the road), was so incautiously 
obeyed, that the vehicle was precipitated into the sea, 
and the poor young lady declared, by a Coroner's inquest, 
to have died of Iriaspiration. Surely so melancholy an 
occurrence will interest the humanity of the Society in 
making some provision against similar calamities. 

Under the head of Topographical Literature, I would 
earnestly request the attention of the Institution to 
various anomalous and contradictory designations of 
locality, which would long ago have been corrected, if, 
like the French, we had possessed a speciil Academy 
of Inscriptions. Thus we apply the name of Whitehall 
to a black chapel ; Cheapside is dear on both sides ; the 
Serpentine River is a straight canal, and the New River 
an old canal ; Knightsbrid^e has no bridge ; Moor- 
fields exhibit no more fields ; the Green Park was all 
last autumn completely brown, Green-street was in no 
better plight, and both, according to Goldsmith's recom- 



LETTER TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY. 211 

mendation, should be removed to Hammersmith, because 
that is the way to Turnham-green. Endeavours should 
be made to assimilate the names of our streets to the 
predominant character of their inhabitants, a con- 
formity to which those lovers of good cheer, the citizens, 
have not been altogether inattentive, inasmuch as they 
have the Poultry, Fish-street-hill, Pudding-lane and Pie- 
corner, Beer-lane, Bread-street, Milk-street, Wine-court, 
Port-soken ward, and many others. If the mountain 
cannot be brought to Mahomet, we know there is still 
an alternative for making them both meet; so, if there 
be too great an inconvenience in transposing the streets, 
we may remove the householders to more appropriate 
residences. Upon this principle, all poets should be 
compelled to purchase their Hippocrene from the Meuxes 
of Liquorpond-street ; those authors who began with 
being flaming patriots, and are now Court-sycophants 
or Treasury hirelings, should be billeted, according to 
the degrees of their offence, upon the Little and Great 
Turn-stile. Some of our furious political scribes should 
be removed to Billingsgate or Old Bedlam ; those of a 
more insipid character, to Milk and Water Lanes ; and 
every immoral or objectionable writer should illustrate 
the fate of his productions, by ending his days in Privy- 
gardens. Physicians and surgeons might be quartered 
in the neighbourhood of Slaughter's coffee-house ; the 
spinsters of the metropolis might congregate in the 
Mews ; the lame ducks of the Stock Exchange should 
take refuge in the Poultry or Cripplegate ; watchmakers 
might ply their art in Seven-Dials ; thieves should be 
tethered in the Steel-yard : all the Jews should be re- 



212 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

stored to the Old Jewry, and the Quakers should assem- 
ble in Hatton-garden. 

Chancery-lane, which would of course be appro- 
priated to the suitors of that court, should by no moans 
terminate in Fleet-street, but be extended to Labour-in- 
\ ain-hill in one direction, and to Long-lane in the other. 
Members of Parliament, according to their politics, might 
settle themselves either upon Constitution-hill or in Rot- 
ten-row. I am aware, that if we wish to establish a 
perfect conformity between localities and tenants, we 
must considerably diminish Goodman's-fields, and pro- 
portionally enlarge KnaveVacre ; but the difficulty of 
completing a measure is no argument against its partial 
adoption. 

In what may be denominated our external or shop- 
keepers' literature, the Society will find innumerable 
errors to rectify. Where he who runs may read, cor- 
rectness and propriety are peculiarly necessary, and we 
all know how much good was effected by the French 
Academy of Inscriptions. Having, in my late perambu- 
lations through London, noted down what appeared to 
me particularly reprehensible, and thrown the various 
addresses of the parties into an appendix, in order that 
your secretary may write to them with such emendatory 
orders as the case may require, I proceed to notice, 
first, the fantastical practice of writing the number over the 
door, and the names on either side, whence we have such 
ridiculous inscriptions as u BoviLL and 127 BOYS,'' 
which would lead us to suppose that the aforesaid Mr. 
Bovill's tailor's bill must be of alarming longitude, 
though perhaps less terrific than that of his opposite 



LETTER TO THE ROYAL LITERARY SOCIETY. 213 

neighbour, who writes up "THACKRAH and 219 
SONS." 

Not less objectionable is the absurd practice of writ- 
ing the name over the door, and the trade on either 
side, whence we have such incongruous combinations as 
"Hat CHILD maker," "Cheese Ho ARE mon- 
ger ;" and a variety of others, of which the preceding 
will afford a sufficient sample. 

Among those inscriptions where the profession fol- 
lows the name without any transposition, there are sev- 
eral that are perfectly appropriate, if not synonymous, 
such as " BLIGHT & SON, Blind-makers :" " Mangling 
done here," occasionally written under the address of a 
country surgeon : " BREWER, Druggist," " WRENCH, 
Tooth-drawer," " SLOMAN, Wine-merchant," " WA- 
TERS, Milkman," &c. &c. But on the contrary, there 
are many that involve a startling catachresis, such as 
" WHETMAN, Dry-salter," " ENGLISH, China-man," 
" PAIN, Rectifier of Spirits," " STEADFAST, Turner," 
" Go WING, Staymaker ;" while among the colours there is 
the most lamentable confusion, as we have "WHITE, Black- 
smith," "BLACK, Whitesmith," "BROWN & SCARLET, 
Green-grocers," and " GREY Hairdresser," which would 
erroneously lead the passenger to suppose that none 
biit grizzled heads were admitted into the shop. While 
remedying these inconsistencies, the Society are entreat- 
ed not to forget, that the Pavement now extends a full 
mile beyond what is still termed " The Stones' End " in 
the Borough ; and that the inscription at Lower Ed- 
monton, " When the water is above this board, please 
to take the upper road," can be of very little use, unless 
when the wash is perfectly pellucid, which it never is. 



214 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

On a shop-window in the Borough there still remains 
written, " New-laid eggs every day, by Mary Dobson," 
which the Society should order to be expunged, as an 
imposition upon the public, unless they can clearly as- 
certain the veracity of the assertion. 

One of the declared objects of the Institution being 
the promotion of " loyalty in its genuine sense, not 
only of personal devotion to the sovereign, but of at- 
tachment to the laws and institutions of our country," 
I would point out to its indignant notice the following 
inscription in High Holborn " KING Dyer," which is 
not only contrary to the received legal maxim that the 
King never dies, but altogether of a most dangerous 
and disloyal tendency. " Parliament sold here" written 
up in large letters in the City-road, is also an obvious 
allusion to the imputed corruption of that body ; and 
the gingerbread kings and queens at the same shop 
being all over gilt, suggest a most traitorous and offen- 
sive Paronomasia. I suspect the fellow who deals in 
these commodities to be a radical. Of the same nature 
are the indecorous inscriptions (which should have been 
noticed among those who place their names over the 
door) running thus, " Ironmongery PARSONS Tools 
of all sorts ;". while in London-wall we see written up, 
"DEACON & PRIEST, Hackneymen." A Society, which 
among the twenty-seven published names of its council 
and officers, contains one Bishop, two Archdeacons, and 
five Reverends, cannot, out of self-respect, suffer these 
indecent allusions to be any longer stuck up in the me- 
tropolis. 

The French Academy having decided, that proper 
names should never have any plural, I would implore 



LETTER, TO THE NEW LITERARY SOCIETY. 215 

the Royal Literary Society to relieve the embarrassment 
of our footmen, by deciding whether they are author- 
ized in announcing at our routs, " Mr. & Mrs. FOOT 
and the Miss FEET ;" whether Mr. PEACOCK'S family 
are to be severally designated as Mrs. PEAHEN and 
the Miss PEACHICKS ; and also what would be the 
best substitution for Mr. arid Mrs. MAN and the Miss 
MEN, which has a very awkward sound. 

Concluding, for the present, with the request that 
the other gold medal of fifty guineas may not be ap- 
propriated until after the receipt of my second letter, I 
have the honour to be, &c. <fec. &c. 



SECOND LETTER TO THE NEW ROYAL LITERARY 
SOCIETY. 

De omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis. 

" A rebus upon all things, and on several others." 

FREE TRANSLATION. 

IN my first letter I did not advert to one department of 
literature, that, for the abuses and corruptions with which 
it is defiled, may be termed the Augaean stable of the 
Muses, and calls aloud for the cleansing interposition of 
a Society which will not shrink from any labours, how- 
ever Herculean. I allude to the present state of logic. 
It is true that this science is not so severely studied as 
it was formerly, but it still forms a regular part of every 
classical education : and as many avail themselves of 
its subtleties and labyrinths for the purpose of puzzling 
others or making their own escape, to the great detri- 
ment of all truth, precision, and simplicity, and the 



216 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

manifest subversion of human reason in general, no 
more solemn or imperious duty can devolve upon the So- 
ciety than the correction of so enormous and crying an evil. 
The whole sixty-four different modes of syllogism should 
be instantly abolished by act of parliament; for what 
benefit can ever be derived from a study which will ad- 
mit of such undeniable falsehoods, impossible truisms, 
and conclusive contradictions, as are exhibited in the 
well-known dilemmas of the Greek logicians ? I am 
willing to believe that the great majority of the Society 
I am addressing are fully impressed with the importance 
of atmospherical variations, as an inexhaustible subject 
of colloquial originality ; yet what is to become of our 
social enjoyments, if this most pregnant and delightful 
topic is to be rendered unavailing by such a reductio ad 
absurdum as the following ? Either it rains, or it does 
not rain but it rains therefore it does not rain : or by 
reversing the position, you may prove that it does rain, 
and so strike at the very root of rational and instructive 
conversation. In the succeeding trite quatrain a most 
unfounded and illiberal imputation is cast upon the filial 
affections of a respectable class of his Majesty's subjects 
the venders of turnips. 

"If the man who turnips cries, 
Cries not when his father dies, 
Tis a proof that he had rather 
Have a turnip than his father." 

When the perversion of logic is thus made a vehicle 
for private scandal, the legislature should provide some 
means of redress for the party libelled, provided he be 
proved to have taken out a regular hawker's license. 



LETTER TO THE NEW LITERARY SOCIETY. 21 7 

In the Musarum Delicise an instance occurs of logi- 
cal subtlety, which the Society may, perhaps, be dis- 
posed to think venial, and even laudable, since it was 
directed against the great enemy of mankind. A friar 
is stated to have sold his soul to the Prince of Dark- 
ness, upon condition that all his debts were paid : 
money was supplied in abundance ; and when the con- 
tracting party was extricated from all his pecuniary dif- 
ficulties, and Satan appeared, saying that he came to 
claim the soul that was due to him, 

" The friar returned this answer : If I owe 
You any debts at all, then you must know 
I am indebted still : if nothing be 
Due unto you, why do you trouble me ?" 

This dangerous weapon is, however, sometimes ap- 
plied, with a culpable Jesuitism and casuistry, to the eva- 
sion of the spirit, by adhering to the letter, of the most 
important moral enactments. Thus it has been urged 
that we are ordered to forgive our enemies, but not our 
friends ; not to bear false witness against our neighbour, 
but we may do so for him : and he who had been ac- 
cused of an improper intimacy with his valet's spouse, 
replied, that the offence was only forbidden against 
another man's wife, whereas this was his own man's 
wife. Such slippery subterfuges should be declared, by 
the paramount authority of the Society, to be senseless 
and irreverent mockeries. It might be advisable, also, 
that they should pass a severe censure upon a certain 
logical, or rather punning executor, who having three 
bank-notes of a hundred pounds each to divide among 
five legatees, of whom he was himself one, said, " There 
10 



218 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

is one for you two, one for you two, and one for me too." 
In cases of this nature, property, literature, and logic, 
unite in claiming the protection of the new Society. 

It may also be most beneficially consulted as an 
umpire in cases that do not fall properly within the ju- 
risdiction of any of our established Courts : such, for 
instance, as the question whether the rustic was guilty 
of perjury, for swearing that at a certain hour a man on 
horseback stopped at his house, when it was clearly 
proved to have been a tailor upon a mare : whether 
the common dictum, that the best side of a plum-pud- 
ding is the left side, (i. e. that which is left,) can be logic- 
ally said of a piece cut from the centre ; whether 
you may legally object to paying for candles, as of bad 
quality, because when they are half-burnt they will not 
burn any longer, but, on the contrary, burn shorter : 
all these are most important considerations, which ought 
not to be left in their present state of cavil and uncer- 
tainty. Perhaps it might be advisable to offer prizes for 
the best essays upon subjects of general interest and 
clear unquestionable utility ; such as the still unsolved 
problem, " An chimsera rimbombans in vacuo poterit 
edere primas intentiones ?" for a solution of the old 
metaphysical crux of the jackass between the two bundles 
of hay ; for an inquiry into the much-disputed point, 
whether the philosopher Bias really invented the game 
of bowls, and Eusebius spectacles ; whether Posthu- 
mus Leonatus was actually born again of a lion after 
his burial ; and whether the surgical essay of Taliaco- 
tius, entitled " De Curtis Membris," may fairly be con- 
sidered a prophecy that a well-known city baronet and 
his son should both become members of parliament. 



LETTER TO THE NEW LITERARY SOCIETY. 219 

Much good may be effected in this way ; but the ques- 
tions selected should be of an importance as manifest as 
those which I have ventured to suggest. 

The preservation of our language in all its purity 
being one of the main objects of the Institution, its at- 
tention cannot too earnestly be directed to an abuse of 
terms, which is of much more serious importance than 
its mere philological inaccuracy, since it is calculated to 
injure morality and confound all our notions of right 
and wrong, by substituting certain silken phrases and 
taffeta terms precise for the most grave offences. Thus, 
killing an innocent man in a duel is called an affair 
of honour ; violating the rights of wedlock an affair 
of gallantry ; adultery a faux-pas ; defrauding honest 
tradesmen outrunning the constable ; reducing a fam- 
ily to beggary by gaming shaking the elbows ; a drunk- 
ard, that worst of all livers, is a bon-vivant ; disturbing 
a whole street, and breaking a watchman's head a 
midnight frolic ; exposing some harmless personage to 
insults, annoyances, and losses a good hoax ; uttering 
deliberate falsehoods shooting the long bow : and va- 
rious other polite epithets will occur to the Society, which, 
affecting to be used as synonymes for vice, not infre- 
quently assume the language of virtue. It is not bene- 
ficial to the monarchical principle that a female of bad 
character should be termed a courtesan ; nor to moral- 
ity, that she should be described as a woman of pleasure. 
Such lenient periphrases are of most injurious tendency ; 
and if the Society for the Suppression of Vice have failed 
to interfere for their discontinuance, I am confident that 
the Institution which I have the honour to address will 
not shrink from^ the full performance of its duty. 



220 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Perhaps I may be subjecting myself to the imputa- 
tion of a Hysteron-proteron, if, after noticing the abuses 
and perversions of words, I proceed to those of individ- 
ual letters ; but the importance of the conclusions to 
which it leads induced me to reserve this subject for my 
own conclusion, and so end where most people begin 
with the alphabet. So obscure and incomprehensible 
is the origin of letters, that many authors have been 
glad to solve the difficulty of their invention by refer- 
ring hX to divine inspiration. In that case, however, 
there would have been some conformity of character, 
number, and sequence ; whereas there is a marked dif- 
ference in all these constituents among the various na- 
tions of the earth. The learned author of Hermes in- 
forms us, that to about twenty plain elementary sounds 
we owe that variety of articulate voices which have been 
sufficient to explain the sentiments of such an innume- 
rable multitude as all the past and present generations 
of men ; and of course our alphabet, assuming this hy- 
pothesis to be true, might be much contracted. Yet 
there are others still more numerous, embracing all num- 
bers up to the Chinese, which reckons by thousands, 
and assuming every variety of collocation, without any 
one people being able to assign reasons for deviating 
from the order of its neighbours. An elucidation of 
this curious subject is well worth the most serious atten- 
tion of the Society. 

The Scholiasts upon that ode of Anacreon which 
describes Cupid's being stung by a bee, state him to have 
been at that moment learning his letters ; and that in 
perpetual remembrance of the pain inflicted by his 
winged assailant, he decreed that the alphabet should 



LETTER TO THE NEW LITERARY SOCIETY. 221 



ever after commence with A B. Others suppose the 
whole ode to be allegorical, expressing how much Cupid 
felt stung and nettled at being compelled to undergo 
the drudgery of learning those letters. The precedence 
of B to C has been explained upon the principle that a 
man must be before he can see ; but these, I apprehend, 
are plausible and ingenious conjectures, unsupported by 
any great philological or lexicographical authorities. 
Many curious discoveries have already been made in the 
hidden properties of letters, and the number might be 
indefinitely increased by the stimulating patronage and 
ingenious researches of the Society. But for the inge- 
nuity of recent investigators, we should never have 
known that the letter S was of essential service at the 
siege of Gibraltar, by making hot shot ; that the letter 
N is like a little pig, because it makes a sty nasty : that 
the letters U V can never go out to dinner because they 
always come after T ; that the letters oast are like toast 
without tea (T) ; and that a barber may be said to fetter 
the alphabet, because he ties up the queues and puts tou- 
pees in irons. These most important additions to our 
philological science are a happy foretaste of what may 
be accomplished by a chartered company expressly in- 
stituted for the encouragement of letters. 

My limits not allowing me to enter at length into 
the subject of our hawkers' and pedlars' literature, vul- 
garly denominated the London Cries, I shall content 
myself with hinting that much of it is so alarmingly 
dissonant and cacophonous, as to need a thorough emen- 
dation. The wretches who yell " Hi-aw-Marakrel !" 
and " Owld Clew !" should be compelled to articulate 
in a sweet and gracious voice " Here are Mackarel " 



222 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

and " Old Clothes." Our murderous dustmen's bells 
have converted many invalids, by depriving them of 
rest, into fit materials for their cart ; and as their cry is 
at least as discordant as their clapper, I would have all 
these noisy nuisances converted into euphonious melo- 
dists by an immediate decree of the Society. The post- 
man, as a man of letters, will of course receive a license 
to bear the bell wherever he goes ; and the muffin-man's 
tinkle is too inoffensive to require regulation. The great 
majority of our cries demand revision ; but I would 
have no innovation upon the milkwoman's 'mi-eau ! 
(probably handed down to us from the Norman times,) 
which is not only valuable as an antiquity, but as a 
frank confession that one-half of the commodity she vends 
is water. 

From words, which are the signs of ideas, the Soci- 
ety may turn their attention to the signs of our public- 
houses, in which a very barbarous taste and a Gothic 
predilection for gorgons, and monsters, and chimseras 
dire, is still but too visible. Since the recent discoveries 
in the interior of Asia, we are warranted in retaining 
the unicorn for our national arms ; but the good taste 
of the Society will induce them to visit our public-houses, 
and procure the suppression of all such preposterous 
symbols as the Phoenix, the Griffin, the Green-dragon, 
the Blue-boar, the Red, Silver, and Golden Lions, with 
a hundred others ; nor will they allow the continuance 
of such anomalous conjunctions as the Green Man and 
Still, which a recent French traveller has very excusably 
translated, " LThoinme vert et tranquille." 



LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 223 



A LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 

When they who lived to puff, by fortune croas'd, 

Must puff to live ; when they whose fame was spread 
From pole to pole are in oblivion lost, 

And having others pinch'd, are pinch'd for bread ; 
When by more sad reverse they 're environ'd 

Than any told of Emperor or Caliph, 
And they, who once toupees and queues have iron'd, 

Must mind their P's and Q's to 'scape the bailiff, 
Well may they cry "The age that treats us thus, 

When most un-barber'd is most barberous." 

IN tracing the changes produced by the alteration of 
human habits in the different ages and nations of the 
world, nothing is more affecting than to contemplate the 
reverses to which whole classes of our fellow-creatures 
are exposed by sudden fluctuations of fashion ; and in 
all the sad records of prostration from eminence and fa- 
vour to obscurity and neglect, we doubt whether any 
can offer a more melancholy contrast than the past and 
present situation of our Barbers. With the embalmers 
of the dead, and forgers of armour for the living, whose 
" occupation's gone," we sympathise no more than we 
shall with the keepers of Lottery Offices, who will short- 
ly be in the same predicament : their pursuits are asso- 
ciated with death, blood, and rapine ; but the Barber's 
Profession (for by a statute of Henry the Eighth it is 
termed a science and a mystery) holds affinity with ev- 
ery thing that is gentle, touching, and endearing. Per- 
haps it would not be too much to affirm that the civili- 
zation of a state cannot be measured by any surer cri- 
terion than the estimation in which these professors are 



224 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

held ; and, that we may not be deemed overweening in 
our veneration for their craft, we will endeavour to sup- 
port our assertion by such historical evidence as more 
immediately occurs to our recollection. 

Beginning with the Jews, as the most ancient peo- 
ple, and one to whom the Barber's soothing influence 
was utterly unknown, we may remark that their whole 
annals are a tissue of violence, horror, and abomination, 
which finally condemned them to become a rejected 
race, a doom from which a portion of them have es- 
caped, in modern days, by subjecting themselves to those 
great civilizers, the wielders of the razor; while the 
lower orders, who still wear the badge of reprobation 
upon their chins, continue in a state of comparative bar- 
barism. And yet the dangers of this adherence to their 
hair were manifested to them at a very early age. . 
When David sent ambassadors to the king of the Am- 
monites, he cut off one half of their beards from the 
side of the face, as the greatest insult he could offer, 
and in this plight escorted them back to their master 
an indignity which could not have been inflicted, had 
their chins been in a more advanced state of civilization. 
Joab, the chief captain of David, seeing Absalom hang- 
ing upon an oak-tree by the hair of the head, pierced 
him to death ; and the same Joab, while he took Amasa 
by the beard to kiss it, treacherously plunged a poniard 
into his body, two acts of barbarity which could riot 
have been perpetrated had the victims been submitted 
to the benign practitioners of the scissors and the razor. 
The men most remarkable for their hair seem to have 
been always the most hardened in iniquity, and to have 
been generally singled out for some calamitous fate. To 



LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 225 

that of Absalom we have already adverted ; Samson, 
whose strength was in his hair, after having been blind- 
ed, was crushed for his wickedness ; and Esau, another 
hairy man, is expressly stated by St. Paul to have been 
a profane person, and one hated of God. 

During the most barbarous period of their history, 
that is to say, up to the time of Alexander the Great, 
the Greeks wore their beards ; but that prince ordered 
the Macedonians to be shaved, lest this appendage should 
afford a handle to their enemies a most sufficing rea- 
son, for one can hardly conceive a less enviable situation 
than to find a vigorous adversary grasping your beard 
with his left hand, and flourishing a sword over your 
head with his right. The Conqueror himself, as might 
have been expected from so polished and magnanimous 
a character, kept a special barber in his house ; and the 
same is recorded of Julius Caesar, an evidence of re- 
finement and good taste for which the latter was abun- 
dantly rewarded, for at a grand entertainment which he 
gave to Cleopatra, this identical barber being as Plu- 
tarch says, " led by his natural caution to inquire into 
every thing, and to listen every where about the pal- 
ace," overheard Achillas the general and Photinus the 
eunuch plotting against his master, whose life he saved 
by giving immediate information of the conspiracy. 
His successors to this hour, it may be remarked, are 
equally inquisitive, and not less faithful to their em- 
ployers. 

That the Barber's shop was the common resort of 

newsmongers in the most polished days of Athens, is 

attested by the way in which they first learnt the great 

defeat of their general Nicias at Syracuse. A stranger 

10* 



226 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

who landed in the Piraeus mentioned this event as he 
sat to be shaved, and the Barber, before he could com- 
municate it to any one else, running into the city to 
inform the magistrates, was interrogated from whom he 
received the intelligence : not being able to give any 
satisfactory answer, he was seized as a forger of false 
news, fastened to the wheel, and put to the torture, 
which he endured with tonsorial fortitude till several 
credible persons arrived who fully confirmed his state- 
ment, Another testimony to the zeal, constancy, and 
veracity, by which the class has ever been distinguished. 
Pliny observes, that up to the 454th year of Rome, 
precisely the most uncivilized period of their empire, 
the Romans had no barbel's ; but that, at that epoch, 
P. Ticinius imported a supply of these artists from 
Sicily. He adds, that Scipio Africanus was the first 
who introduced the fashion of shaving every day, an 
improvement which confers additional credit on that 
illustrious personage. The fourteen first Emperors con- 
tinued this laudable practice, until the reign of Adrian, 
who, for the purpose of concealing some ugly scars upon 
his face, resumed the long beard. Julian the Apostate, 
it is said, drove all the barbers from his Court, and took 
every opportunity of evincing that his love of beards 
was at least commensurate with his hatred of the 
Christians ; both equally derogatory to his memory. 
Of his uncivilized habits and inattention to cleanliness, 
we may sufficiently judge by his condescending to joke 
about the populousness of his beard ; and though there 
may be some merit in his only noticing the lampoons 
of the people of Antioch by writing against them his 
celebrated Misopoguii, or Beard-hater, it would have 



LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 227 

been much better never to have deserved their satire. 
He wanted but a barber and a confessor, to haye made 
him a great character. 

The Lombards, or Longobardi, so called from the 
length of their beards, were of course enemies to the 
Barbers, and it is unnecessary to add that they were a 
cruel, ferocious, and savage race. Peter the Great, of 
Russia, was so impressed with the importance of Bar- 
bers in polishing a nation, that, when he set about 
civilizing his subjects, one of his first edicts was to com- 
mand them to cut off their beards, and government 
operators were appointed, with instructions to shave the 
refractory by force. Without going into any more 
minute detail, it may be sufficient to observe, that at 
the present moment all the enlightened and civilized 
portions of the earth are under tonsorial subjection, 
which is rejected by none but savages and barbarians. 
How can we expect the Turks to do otherwise than 
massacre their Greek prisoners, when they swear by 
one another's beards, and their most common form of 
benediction is to exclaim " Allah for ever preserve your 
blessed beard ?" 

Perhaps the golden age of the knights of the razor 
and the comb is to be sought in that glorious period of 
our history when they were yclept Barber-chirurgeons, 
from their uniting both sciences, and a lute or viol was 
provided in every shop for the entertainment of waiting 
customers, who in these our degenerate days are fain to 
solace themselves with a playbill, or a yesterday's news- 
paper. Then was it that their party-coloured ensign, 
the pole, like the ivy-bound Thyrsus of the Bacchana- 
lian Menades, was upreared at each shop to typify the 



228 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

staff put into the hand of every patient undergoing the 
operation of phlebotomy ; while the fillet was repre- 
sented by the white band with which the pole was encir- 
cled. But, alas ! what are sublunary glories and dis- 
tinctions? By a statute of the 32d Henry the Eighth, 

it was decreed that " No person using any shaving 

or barbery in London, shall occupy any surgery, letting 
of blood or other matter ; drawing of teeth only ex- 
cepted. And no person using the mystery or craft of 
surgery shall occupy or exercise the feat or craft of bar- 
bery or shaving, neither by himself, nor any other for 
his use." Thus were two noble professions for ever dis- 
severed ; nor was it any sufficing compensation that the 
whole head was abandoned to the barbers, for in pro- 
cess of time the dentists, a hungry generation, living as 
it were from hand to mouth, usurped jurisdiction over 
the interior, and left to the defrauded barbers nothing 
but the miserable exterior of the skull for their entire 
patrimony. 

Even with these limited means, however, they con- 
trived, at no distant date, to render themselves opulent 
and illustrious. He that is old enough to remember 
the reign of Pulvilio and Pomatum, now utterly pass- 
ed away, will do full justice to the former dignity and 
importance of these practitioners. When a cushion re- 
posed amid the umbrageous labyrinth of every female 
head, into which pins of nine inches long were thrust 
to support the intricate expansion of her outfrizzed hair, 
while the Artist busily plied his puff, surcharged with 
Marechale or brown powder, redolent of spice ; when 
every gentleman's sconce wwas avy with voluminous 
and involuted curls, and he sat daily in his powdering 



LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 229 

room, then an indispensable apartment, gazing through 
the horny eyes of his mask upon his puffing decorator, 
dim amid the cloud of dust as the Juno of Ixion : 
when all his complicated titivation was to be incurred 
with aggravated detail before every dinner-party or 
ball then was the time that the Barbers, like the celes- 
tial bodies, which have great glory and little rest, were 
harassed and honoured, tipped and tormented, coaxed 
and cursed. Then was the time that a COURTOIS could 
amass a princely fortune, which an audacious Mrs. Phi- 
poe, not having tonsorial fear before her eyes, vainly 
endeavoured to appropriate. And I appeal to the ex- 
perienced reader, whether the profession did not at this 
busy period, when there was an absolute contention for 
their favours, conduct themselves in their high calling 
with an indefatigable alertness and suavity, shooting 
like meteors from street to street, plying the puff morn- 
ing and evening, overnight and all night, and often 
sacrificing their own health in ministering to the plea- 
sures of others. 

Where, indeed, is the Barber of any age or country 
against whom an imputation can be justly levelled? 
His is one of the fine arts which pre-eminently " ernollit 
mores, nee sinit esse feros." As iron, by attrition with 
the magnet, obtains some of its power of attraction, so 
does he, by always associating with his superiors, acquire 
portion of their polish and urbanity. Shoemakers, 
tailors, and other artisans of lonely and sedentary life, 
are generally morose, melancholy, atrabilarious, subject 
to religious hypochondriacism ; but the patron of the 
puff is locomotive and social in his habits, buoyant, 
brisk, and hilarious in his temperament. There is not, 



230 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

perhaps, a single instance of a fanatic barber: and how 
many traits are recorded of their generous forbearance. 
Alfieri was so nervously sensitive, that if one hair was 
pulled a little tighter than the rest, he would fly into a 
paroxysm of rage, draw his sword, and threaten to des- 
troy the offender ; yet such was his confidence, that he 
would the next moment submit his throat to his razor. 
How calm and dignified was the reply of one of this 
class to the pimple-faced madman, who, with a loaded 
pistol in his hand, compelled him to take oif his beard, 
declaring that if he cut him in a single place, he would 
instantly blow out his brains. After successfully accom- 
plishing his difficult task, he was asked whether he had 
not been terrified during the operation. " No, Sir," he 
replied, " for the moment I had drawn blood, I had 
made up my mind to cut your throat ! " 

In corroboration of our estimate of this character, 
let it be added, that though none has been more fre- 
quently handled by authors, the Barber is never placed 
in a degrading or unworthy light. True to nature, they 
may occasionally render him ridiculous, but never odious. 
On the stage we have been delighted with his eccentri- 
cities, from him of Seville down to Dickey Gossip, 
whose representative, Suett, with his rapid and ready 
cackle, will not easily be forgotten. Which of us has 
not laughed at the chattering impertinent of the Arabian 
Nights, who, being sent for to shave a customer in all 
haste, spent a long time in preparing his apparatus, 
took a handsome astrolabe out of his budget, very 
gravely measured the height of the sun, and exclaimed 
" Sir, you will be pleased to know that this day is 
Friday the 18th of the month SafFar, in the year 653 



LAMENTATION UPON THE DECLINE OF BARBERS. 231 

from the retreat of our great Prophet from Mecca to 
Medina, and in the year 7320 of the epocha of the 
great Iskender with two horns," and finally drove the 
poor man out of his wits with his dilatory loquacity ? 
Cervantes expressly informs us that the Curate, and Mr. 
Nicholas the Barber, were two of Don Quixote's " best 
friends and companions ; " and it is remarkable that he 
not only selects the latter, as one of the most enlightened 
personages in the neighbourhood, to assist the Licentiate 
in the expurgation of the Knight's library, but avails 
himself of his talents throughout the whole work, and 
mentions him upon all occasions with singular respect 
and affection. Moreover, upon Sancho's resolving to 
have a Barber of his own, soon after the affair of Mam- 
brino's helmet, Don Quixote applauds his resolution, 
places that functionary above a master of the horse, and 
exclaims " Truly, it is an office of greater confidence 
to trim the beard than to saddle the horse." Nay, 
upon another occasion he even elevates it above divinity ; 
for, when it was proposed that they should invite the 
Curate and the Barber to join them in their Arcadian 
scheme, and assist them in becoming pastoral and poeti- 
cal, Don Quixote observes, "Of. the Curate I shall say 
nothing, though I should lay a good wager that his 
collars and points are truly poetical : and that Master 
Nicholas is in the same fashion I do not at all doubt, 
for people of his profession are famous for making ballads 
and playing on the guitar." 

Signor Diego, the Barber of Olmedo, is represented 
in Gil Bias as a generous and hospitable personage ; 
while the sprightly, quick-witted, and faithful Fabricio 
the poet, inherited his virtues and his talents from old 



232 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Nunez, another operator upon the chin. STRAP, the 
equally faithful companion and assistant of Roderick 
Random, will occur to all readers; and a hundred 
others, "quos numerare taedet," might easily be ad- 
duced ; but it is quite sufficient to state, in conclusion, 
that honourable mention has been made of the tonsorial 
adept both by Shakspeare and Sir William Curtis ! 

What and where are they now, the representatives 
of this illustrious line of ancestors ? They may indeed 
exclaim, " Eheu ! fuimus ! fuimus ! " With the excep- 
tion of a few who still coldly furnish forth the heads of 
our divinity and law professors, they are all 

"Fallen! fallen! fallen! fallen! 
Fallen from their high estate," 

and languishing in inactivity and poverty. Each supports 
his reverses with a meek though dignified resignation, 
and each, in rebuke of this ungrateful era, may proudly 
exclaim with Lord Verulam in his Will "For my 
name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable 
speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages." 



SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. 

CHANCES OF FEMALE HAPPINESS. 

" But what so pure which envious tongues will spare ? 
Some wicked wits have libelPd all the fair." 

POPE. 

" On me when dunces are satiric, 
I take it for a panegyric." 

SWIFT. 

ANACREON being asked why he addressed all his hymns 
to women and none to the gods, answered, u Because 



SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. 233 

women are my deities ;" and the ladies were, no doubt, 
mightily indebted to him and similar voluptuaries, who 
set them up in their houses, as certain barbarous nations 
did their Lares and Lemures, for playthings and orna- 
ments, to be deified when their owners were in good 
luck and good humour, and vilipended and trodden 
under foot in every access of passion or reverse of for- 
tune. Little flattering as is such praise, it is still observ- 
able that the ancient writers seldom abused the sex " in 
good set terms," or carried their vituperation beyond 
the excusable limits of raillery and a joke. Socrates 
vented only witticisms against Xantippe : Xenarchus, 
the comic poet, in noticing that none but the male grass- 
hoppers sing, exclaims, "How happy are they in hav- 
ing dumb wives !" and Ebulus, another old Grecian 
jester, after mentioning the atrocities of Medea, Clytem- 
nestra, and Phaedra, says it is but fair that he should 
proceed to enumerate the virtuous heroines, when he 
suddenly stops short, wickedly pretending that he can- 
not recollect a single one. Among the Romans we 
know that Juvenal dedicated his sixth Satire to the 
abuse of the fair sex, but his worst charge only accuses 
them of being as bad as the men ; and if we are to in- 
fer that the licentiousness of his own life was at all 
equal to the grossness of his language, we may safely 
presume that his female acquaintance were not among 
the most favourable specimens of the race. The unnat- 
ural state of Monachism has been the bitter fountain 
whence has flowed most of the still more unnatural 
abuse of women ; the dark ages have supplied all the 
great luminaries of Mysogyny, who have ransacked 
their imaginations to supply reasons for perverted religion, 



234 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

and excuses for violated humanity. Valerius's Letters 
to Rufinus, the Golden Book of Theophrastus, and St. 
Jerome's Exhortations to Celibacy, have furnished all 
authors, from the Romance of the Rose downwards, 
with materials for this unmanly warfare so narrow is 
the basis on which are grounded all the sorry jests, 
shallow arguments, and pitiful scandals of ribalds and 
lampooners ; and so easy is it to obtain a reputation for 
that species of wit which, as Johnson says of Scriptural 
parody, " a good man detests for its immorality, and a 
clever one despises for its facility." 

Chaucer's Wife of Bath, Merchant's Tale, &c., all 
borrowed from the above-mentioned sources, were little 
more than good-humoured, though gross caricatures ; 
Boileau, whose tenth Satire is a more bitter denuncia- 
tion, should have recollected, that he was naturally as 
well as professionally compelled to celibacy, and might 
have consulted his friend Fontenelle upon the fable of 
the Fox and the Grapes : it was perhaps to be expected 
that the melancholy Dr. Young, who undervalued hu- 
man nature and happiness, should have levelled his 
shafts against the masterpiece of one and the dispenser 
of the other Woman ! but what shall we say of the 
contemporary satirists, Pope and Swift, each of whom, 
after trifling with and inveigling the affections of two 
accomplished ladies, who sacrificed every thing to the 
promotion of their happiness, slunk back from marriage, 
or, if married, were not only mean and cowardly enough 
to conceal it, but ungrateful enough to publish heartless 
libels against the whole sex ? Let this be always recol- 
lected when any one ventures the hackneyed quotations 
from Pope, " Every woman is at heart a rake " " Most 



SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. 235 

women have no characters at all " " The love of pleas- 
ure and the love of sway :" with other citations equally 
just and novel. As to Swift, he can luckily be seldom 
quoted in decent company ; yet even he could confess 
that the grossness and degeneracy of conversation ob- 
servable in his time were mainly attributed to the exclu- 
sion of women from society. Conscious that this self- 
spotting calumny is somewhat like spitting against the 
wind, modern writers have generally had the good sense 
to avoid putting themselves in the way of its recoil ; 
and if a late noble author delighted to vent his spleen 
against the sex in general, and his wife in particular, he 
might plead in his defence that which I believe might 
be adduced by all similar libellers 

" Forgiveness to the injured doth belong ; 
They never pardon who commit the wrong." 

Nor be it forgotten that such men may be only ex- 
emplifying the fable of the Painter and the Lion, for 
it is easier to traduce fifty women than practise one 
virtue. 



- " Women want the ways 



To praise their deeds, but men want deeds to praise." 

I do not merely admire women as the most beauti- 
ful objects of creation, or love them as the sole sources 
of happiness, but I reverence them as the redeeming 
glories of humanity, the sanctuaries of the virtues, the 
pledges and antepast of those perfect qualities of 
the head and heart, combined with attractive external 
charms, which, by their union, almost exalt the human 
into the angelic character. Taxation and luxury, and 



236 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

struggles for existence, have made us such a cold, selfish, 
plodding nation, that we should be base indeed, were it 
not for the disinterestedness and enthusiasm of our 
females, whose romance is necessary to qualify the pain- 
ful reality of our existence. And yet, from the first 
moment when I began to reflect, I have always thanked 
God that I was not born a woman, deeming them the 
bestowers rather than enjoyers of happiness the flow- 
er-crowned victims offered up to the human lord of the 
Creation. 

Passing over the early period of her life, which, 
however, is one of perpetual restraint and unvaried sub- 
jection to the most self-denying forms and observances, 
we will suppose a female to have attained a fitting age 
for that great and paramount end of her being mar- 
riage. Men have a thousand objects in life the pro- 
fessions, glory, ambition, the arts, authorship, advance- 
ment, and money-getting, in all their ramifications, each 
sufficient to absorb their minds and supply substitutes 
in case of primary failure ; but if a woman succeed not 
in the one sole hope of her hazardous career, she is ut- 
terly lost to all the purposes of exertion or happiness ; 
the past has been all thrown away, and the future pre- 
sents little but cheerless desolation. Love is only a 
luxury to man, but it may be termed a necessary to 
woman, both by the constitution of society and the de- 
crees of nature ; for she has endowed them with supe- 
rior susceptibility and overflowing affections, which if 
they be not provided with an object, perpetually corrode 
and gnaw the heart. And what are her feelings and 
chances in this fearful lottery ? A constant sense of 
degradation, in being compelled to make her whole life 



SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. 23*7 

a game, a manoeuvre, a speculation ; while she is haunt- 
ed with the fear of ultimate failure. And how alarm- 
ingly must the number of these involuntary nuns in- 
crease with the yearly augmenting distress of taxed, 
and luxurious, and expensive England, where the moral 
restraint of Malthus, while it inflicts no privations upon 
the man, condemns the female to an utter blighting of 
the soul, aggravated, perhaps, by dependency or want. 
Blistered be the tongue that can ridicule, and paralyzed 
the hand that can libel those victims of an artificial and 
unnatural system who have been unfeelingly taunted as 
Old Maids ! Well could I excuse them, if, in the bit- 
terness of sickened hope and the idleness of unjoyous 
solitude, they were even prone to exercise a vigilant 
censorship over the peccadilloes of their more fortunate 
rivals ; but I repel the charge, and can safely affirm 
that some of the most amiable, kind-hearted, liberal 
women I have ever known, were in this calumniated 
class. 

One chance of " single blessedness" is still reserved 
for these Celibates. Their affections, unclaimed upon 
earth, sometimes seek a recipient in the skies ; respond- 
ing to the manifestations of divine love which they see 
on every side of them, they draw down religious light- 
ning direct from Heaven, while men seek conductors, 
which only guide it towards the earth. The devotion 
"of the former, as it is founded upon feeling, may be 
uninquiring, and have a tendency to enthusiasm, but it 
will be cheerful and happy, because emanating from 
the heart ; the latter approach this subject with their 
heads a process which not unfrequently makes them 
sceptics, or bigots, or hypocrites. 



238 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

But let us suppose the happier case of a young wo- 
man, who, from her beauty or fortune, is sure to receive 
offers that is to say, who will attract fools or sharpers, 
and be taken as a necessary appendage of her face or 
her purse. Even here, how little selection is allowed to 
her she may reject one, perhaps two ; but if the 
third be merely free from positive objections, prudence 
urges his acceptance, relations second prudence, and she 
marries a man because he affords her no good excuse 
for hating him. The Circassians of Europe have little 
more choice than their namesakes of Asia. " The hap- 
py pair" begin by committing a great mistake they 
withdraw themselves from the world to spend the 
honeymoon together : familiarity produces its usual ef- 
fects ; they see too much of one another at first, and the 
results are exhaustion and ennui. She who marries an 
Idler, who will hang upon her society till she is wearied, 
and then seek recreation elsewhere, has not so many 
chances of happiness as the woman whose husband is 
compelled to tear himself from her company for his du- 
ties, and gladly returns to it for his enjoyments. 

A man's love generally diminishes after marriage, 
while a woman's increases ; both of which results might 
have been anticipated : for that appetite, either of per- 
son or purse, which the Bridegroom too often dignifies 
with the name of love, disappears with enjoyment ; 
while the bride, whose affections were perhaps little' 
interested at first, finds them imperceptibly kindled by 
a sense of duty, by the consciousness of her dependence, 
and the gratification and novelty which her total change 
of life invariably presents at the outset. Awakening 
from, this trance, she has leisure to discover that she has 



SATIRISTS OF WOMEN. 239 

made over to her lord and master, strictly and truly so 
designated, not only all her present possessions, but all 
her future expectations all that she may even earn by 
her talents : she has not become his servant, for ser- 
vants, if ill used, may depart, and try to better them- 
selves elsewhere ; but his serf, his slave, his white negro, 
whom, according to Judge Buller, (himself a married 
man,) he may correct with a stick of the same thickness 
as his thumb, whatever may be its dimensions. We 
hear of rosy fetters, the silken chains of love, the soft 
yoke of Hymen but who is to bear the soul-grinding 
bondage of dislike, contempt, hatred ? How is a wo- 
man to avoid these feelings if she be maltreated and in- 
sulted ; and how is she to redress her wrongs ? The 
laws, made by the men, and therefore flagrantly in 
their own favour, provide no remedy : if she use her 
sole weapon, the tongue, she is proclaimed a scold, a 
shrew, and reminded of the ducking-stool ; if she make 
his own house uncomfortable to her husband, every 
body's else is open to him ; he may violate his mar- 
riage-vow, and is still a marvellous proper gentleman ; 
he may associate with profligates, and his friends ex- 
claim " Poor man ! he has been driven to this by a 
bad wife !" If the deserted and injured woman mean- 
time seek relief from her sorrows in the most innocent 
recreation, Spite, with its Argus eyes, keeps watch upon 
her door, and Calumny dogs her footsteps, hissing at 
her with its thousand tongues, and spitting out lies and 
poison from every one. Let no man choose me for 
umpire in a conjugal dispute. I need not ask who is 
the delinquent my heart has decided against him by 
anticipation. 



240 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



Such, I shall be told, is the result of uncongenial 
unions ; but it is a mistake to suppose that men seek 
congeniality in their wives. In friends, who are to 
share their sports and pursuits ; to accompany them in 
shooting, hunting, fishing; to talk politics or religion 
over a bottle ; they naturally select similarity of tastes : 
but women are to do nothing of all this ; they are 
chosen for their domestic duties, and as these are per- 
fectly distinct from the man's, he looks out for contrast 
rather than uniformity. Hence the male horror of Blue- 
stockings, the sneer with which every blockhead ex- 
claims " Our wives read Milton and our daughters 
play !" the alacrity with which he assumes that such 
learned ladies must necessarily " make sloppy tea, and 
wear their shoes down at heel;" and the convincing 
self-applause with which he quotes the trite epigram 

" Though Artemisia talks by fits 
Of councils, fathers, classics, wits, 

Reads Malbranche, Boyle, and Locke," <fec. 

Let us imagine, not a patient stock-fish, like Gri- 
selda, but an accomplished woman, " paired, not match- 
ed," with " a sullen silent sot, one who is ever musing 
but never thinks," an animal who, like London small-, 
beer, gets sour if not soon drunk ; or united to a drone 
and a dunce, who lounges all day long before the fire, 
spitting into it like a great roasting apple ; or sub- 
mitted to the caprices of a man who keeps his good 
temper for company and his bad for his wife ; abroad 
as smiling and promising as a Siberian crab, while at 
home his heart's core is as sour ; or tormented with a 
profligate, who But I must have done, al- 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 241 

though I have not half finished, for I might stretch the 
line to the crack of doom. When I consider all the 
hardships and trials to which the fair sex are subject by 
those unjust institutions of society which exact the 
greatest strength from the weakest vessel, and reflect, 
moreover, that Nature has unkindly imposed upon it 
all the pains and penalties of continuing the race, I can 
only repeat once more, that I thank Heaven for not 
having made me a woman. 



THE STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 

If true politeness be display'd, 

As Chesterfield has somewhere said, 

By anti-risibility ; 

They who are fond of grins and jokes, 
Have clearly naught to do with folks 

Of saturnine gentility. 

WTierefore, kind reader, if you share 
Whitechapel laughs, and vulgar fare, 

Beneath our Steam-boat's banners, 
Be not fastidious when 'tis done, 
Nor cry " I don't object to fun 

But can't abide low manners." 

" BLESS my heart ! Mrs. Suet here ! Ah, Mrs. Hog- 
gins, how d'ye do ? Dear me ! Mrs. Sweatbread, 
and Mrs. Cleaver too ! Why, we shall have the whole 
of Whitechapel on board presently. I believe," said the 
voluble dame, looking round with a gracious and com- 
prehensive smile, " I believe we are all butchers' ladies," 
11 



242 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

" I believe we ar'n't no such a thing, Ma'am," cried 
a corpulent female with an oleaginous face, while, trying 
to turn up her pug-nose, which however was kept toler- 
ably steady by a triple chin, she waddled away to an- 
other part of the vessel. " Well, I 'm sure ! Marry, 
come up ! Hoity, toity !" burst from the coterie with 
which she had disclaimed carnificial affinity ; " here 's 
airs for you !" " And her veil's only bobbinet lace," 
cried one ; " And them fine ear-rings is only gilt, I 
warrant ye," said another. " Well, I do declare, there's 
neighbour Croak, the undertaker, with his long woe- 
begone phiz ; it gives one quite the blue-devils to look 
at him. I say, Croak, who is that stuck-up fat thing 
that just left us ?" " Don't you know her ?" inquired 
Croak, in a whisper ; " why, that's Mrs. Dip, the great 
tallow-chandler's lady, of Norton Falgate." "Well, 
suppose she is, she needn't turn her nose up at us : if 
we were to call upon her on melting-day, we might 
have something to turn up our noses at, I fancy, ha, ha, 
ha ! Lauk ! how serious you look ; she isn't a friend 
of yours, is she ?" " I never laughs at nobody," replied 
the prudent Mr. Croak, "for in our line every body's 
liable to become a customer. Your poor brother Joe, 
Ma'am, made a very pretty corpse. I dare say, when 
he was setting off on that water-party, just as we may 
be now, he little thought he was to be drown'd ; and 
who knows what may happen to us this very day ?" 
"La, Mr. Croak, you're quite shocking; worse than a 
screech owl : I wonder you could join a party of plea- 
sure." " Pleasure, indeed !" cried Croak, with a sardonic 
grin, followed by a groan ; " brother Tom lies dead at 
Calais, and one wouldn't give the job to strangers, you 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 243 

know, being in one's own line." " Is poor Tom gone 
at last ? you used to call him Silly Tom, didn't you ?" 
" No," said Croak, surlily ; " I always call'd him Tom 
Fool." " Well, but he has left you and George some- 
thing, hasn't he ?" " Yes," replied the undertaker, 
giving his lower jaw a still more lugubrious expansion, 
" he has bequeathed to one of us the payment of his 
debts, and to the other the care of his children." 
" Well, well, Mr. Croak, it ought, at all events, to make 
you happy, that you've now got a fair excuse for being 
miserable." 

"I'll take your bundle, young gentleman," said the 
ship's steward, addressing a youth by my side, who, I 
found, was Mrs. Cleaver's son ; and whose sallow com- 
plexion, spindle legs, lank hair, squinting eyes, and look 
of impudent cunning, proclaimed him, at the same time, 
a genuine son of the City. " No, but you von't tho'," 
said the young Cockney, holding his bundle behind 
him ; " I understands trap ; I'm up to snuff and a pinch 
above it ; I'm not to be diddled in that there vay. I 
s'pose you thought mother and I vas going to pay a 
crown a-piece for our dinner ; but ve don't stand no 
nonsense, for I've got a cold beaf-steak and inguns in 
this here 'ankerchief, and that, vith a glass of brandy 
and vater cold, arout sugar, is vhat I call a prime spread." 
" Bravo, Dick !" said the delighted mother, winking 
at her son ; " if they can take you in, I give 'em leave. 
As I hope to be saved, here's Mr. Smart the tanner ; 
well, now we shall have some fun." " Ladies," cried the 
facetious Mr. Smart, sliding forward his foot, and making 
a bow of mock ceremony, " your most hydrostatic and 
humblecumdumble." "There you go, Mr. Smart, as 



244 GAIETIES AND JGRAVITIES. 

droll as ever, always beginning the conversation with a 
repartee. Did you hear that, Mrs. S. ? that was a good'n ; 
wasn't it, Mrs. H. I"" That there tower, mother," said 
Dick, with a sagacious nod, "vas built by Villiam the 
Conqueror ; I vonder vhy they stuck hoyster shells all 
over it." " I suppose," cried Mr. Smart, " to show that 
he astonished the natives in more ways than one, ha, 
ha, ha !" Dick laughed, though he didn't know why ; 
and, pulling up his neckcloth, proceeded to give his 
mother a lesson in English history. " It vas his dad, 
you know, that vas called Villiam Rufus, on account of 
his black 'air, and vas shot by a hill-directed harrow, 
vhich vent right thro' his 'art " " And fell at Har- 
row on the Hill," cried Mr. Smart, " whence it took its 
name, ha, ha, ha ! Excuse me, Mrs. Cleaver, but your 
son has, somehow, picked up a little of the Cockney 
pronunciation." " Not more, Sir, than a young man 
should have, who means to live all his life in the City. 
He went to a very good school." " And master vasn't a 
coxcomb," added Dick, " about his Wees and Haitches." 
" And, at all events," resumed Mrs. Cleaver, " he 
seems to have taught the boy his English history 
thoroughly : not that I like that sort of reading myself; 
we have so much blood and slaughter in our line, that 
it 's no more treat to me than figs to a grocer's wife ; 
but I sometimes make our Sal read to me the explana- 
tion of the pictures in her History of England, and I 

have stood upon the very spot in Smithfield " 

" O, ay," cried Dick, interrupting her, " vhere that feller 
knocked the other feller off his 'orse for rebelling against 
the Lord Mayor." 

" What lady and gentleman," bawled the Steward, 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 245 

" belongs to this here hand-box, and this here spaniel ?" 
Whether you mean it or not, said I to myself, you 
shall have a shilling extra for the sly satire of making 
those objects the principals, and the human beings their 
mere appendages and accessories : for the woman is too 
often the creature of her cap, on whose becomingness 
she depends for the temper and happiness of the day; 
r.nd the gentleman will follow his dog from sunrise to 
sunset, through bog and briar, as patiently as a blind 
beggar ; not, however, for the pleasure of picking up 
halfpence, but of knocking down partridges. 

I listened no more, at that time, to the conversation 
around me, for I had never been on board a steam-ves- 
sel, and as I observed that we were about to start, I 
gave all my attention to the process. The mooring 
ropes were unbound we floated out into the clear mid- 
channel the Captain rang a little bell communicating 
with the people stationed at the works below when 
instantly the huge machine seemed to become instinct 
with life, and to dart down the river with the rapidity 
and roar of a wild animal springing upon its prey. We 
shot along the Thames as a falling star flits athwart the 
heavens ; objects were hardly seen before they were 
overtaken, past, and again out of sight ; we outstripped 
ships pursuing the same course, at full sail, with a 
celerity that deceived the eye, and rendered it difficult 
to believe that they were not at anchor. As I saw 
our prow opening to itself a foaming channel, and 
ploughing up huge waves which rocked the boats and 
small craft as they rolled to the banks, I could hardly 
help imagining that I was on the back of some realised 
kraken, that was swallowing up the river in his monstrous 



246 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

jaws ; or, converting the wheels into wide-spread wings, 
I fancied myself flying through the air on the back oi 
the Rok, that gigantic bird which Sinbad the Sailor en- 
countered in his travels : or again, as I yielded to the 
short gallop-like jerks of the vessel's motion, I dreamt 
that I was bestriding some stupendous griffin or hippo- 
griff, and beating the wind in a race across the desert. 
What sensation can be more exhilarating and delight- 
ful than this incredible speed, without the smallest per- 
sonal effort ? What triumph more complete than this 
easy conquest over all our competitors ? What spectacle 
more sublime than the calm majesty of the vessel, which, 
without visible effort or difficulty, accomplishes these 
miracles through the instrumentality of an impalpable 
vapour ? O happy triumph of audacious art, said I to 
myself, which, making the elements minister to their 
own conquest, enables us to shoot along the surface, and 
plough up the bosom of the river by means of a little 
water taken from its channel, as the arrow that pierced 
the eagle's heart was plumed with a feather stolen from 
his wino;! 

o 

Nor could I help admiring the docility and obedi- 
ence of this flying wonder, when, in the midst of its 
velocity, it was instantly stopped at Blackwall, that we 
might take a party on board; a delay of which Mr. 
Smart availed himself to show off his wit. Tipping the 
wink, therefore, to his companions, he told them he 
would have a bit of gig with the Irishman who was 
discharging coals from a collier alongside, and accordingly 
he hailed him with " Well, Paddy, how are coals ?" 
" Black as ever, your Honour," said the man, going on 
with his work. This was rather a repulse, but thinking 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 247 

something might be made of the fellow's ears, which 
were of rather liberal dimensions, he returned to the 
charge. u But Paddy, my jewel, why don't you get 
your ears cropped 1 they are too large for a man." 
" And yours are too small for an ass," retorted the Hi- 
bernian. Smart joined in the laugh, but with a much 
less hearty cackle than usual; and, instead of pursuing 
the assault, began whistling a tune. A vessel on the 
other side happened to be pumping out bilge-water, and 
as neither the butchers' ladies nor Mrs. Dip had ever 
been accustomed to villainous smells, they were, of 
course, particularly horrified. " I knew ve should have 
this here stench," said Dick, " I sawr it a-coming." " I 
don't know how you could see a smell," said Mr. Croak, 
making a wry face. " Why, don't you observe that he 
looks through his nose ?" cried Mr. Smart, laughing im- 
moderately, to make up for his two former failures. This 
allusion to Dick's squint called up his mother, who beg- 
ged to inform the tanner, that it was neither genteel 
nor gentlemanly to run his rigs upon personal defects, 
though, she thanked God, her Dick had as few as most 
people. Dick, by way of turning the conversation, 
declared, he " never thought they had such fine rivers 
in the country, for it kept getting vider and vider." 
" You will find it," resumed Smart, " like your own face, 
widest across at the mouth." Whereat Mrs. Cleaver, 
in great dudgeon, recommended her neighbour to keep 
his tongue within his teeth, or he should have his 
shoulders rubbed down with an oaken towel. Luckily, 
we recommenced our flight; some musicians on board 
struck up a waltz, and cheerfulness^ and good humour 



248 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

were presently restored ; when, in the midst of the 
general hilarity, Mr. Croak's husky voice was heard. 

" Shocking account, in to-day's paper, of a steam- 
boat blown up in America !" " God bless me !" ex- 
claimed half a dozen tongues at once ; " no lives lost, I 
Lope." " Not on the spot ; no such luck : but so 
dreadfully scalded that the flesh fell from their bones, 
and after living some days in great agony, fourteen 
people died." " Dear me ! how very shocking ! but 
you don't think there's any danger here, do you, Mr. 
Croak ? you know there's an Act of Parliament to re- 
gulate " " Ay, ay, so they tell us, but that's all non- 
sense. I hope we shall get over safe ; I hate to look at 
the black side of things ; but we shall be out to sea in 
half an hour, and it would be very dreadful if any thing 
was to happen ; fire and water both to fight against : 
one hundred and ten people on board, and no boat, 
perhaps, within sight of us." " Lauk, Sir !" exclaimed 
Mrs. Sweetbread, " you really make one quite nervous ! 
well, I'm glad the fellow's gone. I do think that Croak's 
the greatest bore upon earth, don't you, Mr. Smart ?" 
" No, Ma'am, I think him the greatest bore upon water, 
ha, ha, ha !" 

The party were just talking of striking up a dance, 
when the ill-omened undertaker returned. " Ladies, I 
hope you're not alarmed at what I said. I find this 
is the best built of all the vessels, but she certainly 
seems to roll and tumble very much, and I thought I 
saw flames coming out of the chimney just now. I 
dare say there's nothing wrong ; but I observed that 
the man at the boiler looked frightened, and whispered 
to the boy, and soon after asked where the Captain 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 249 

was. However, I'm quite sure it's all right. The Lord 
be good unto us !" A groan followed this ejaculation, 
and he walked off as if he had been taking leave of the 
Ordinary on the drop at Newgate. 

" Why, Dickey, my dear," said Mrs. Cleaver, " you 
look pale ; I hope you don't mind what that chap says ?" 
" No, mother, I arn't frit, but it makes one feel queer- 
ish, for on board ship I don't pretend to be aN 'ero." 
" I hope not," said Mr. Smart ; " nor a Caligula either." 
" There he is," resumed Dick, " sitting on that there 
box by the chimley, all alone by himself, just like a 
hodd brick in an od, or a howl in a hivy bush. If he 
vouldn't take the lawr of me, I should like just to shove 
him hoverboard by vay of a bit of fun. Only look, 
mother, at them trees ; vhy, they're as tall as Vhite- 
chapel Church ; I vonder vether they're hoaks, or helms, 
or hashes ; and, I dare say, Mr. Smart doesn't know, for 
all he's sich a vag. La, mother, I feels quite rumbus- 
tical and queer ; I should like a mug of vhite vine vhey ; 
at all events I '11 have a touch at the wittles." " Who 
would have thought of a good thought from Dick ?" 
said Mr. Smart ; " I second the motion." " No occa- 
sion," cried Mrs. Suet, with a look of greedy gladnesss, 
" for the Steward has just given notice that dinner 's all 
ready in the cabin. Come, Mrs. Hoggins, Mrs. Sweet- 
bread, Mrs. Cleaver ! dinner 's ready ; shall I show you 
the way down to the cabin ? we mustn't spoil good 
victuals, though we are sure of good company. Lauk ! 
what a monstrous deal of smoke comes out of the 
chimney. I suppose they are dressing the second 
course ; every thing 's roasted by steam, they say, how 
excessively clever ! As to Mrs. Dip, since she 's so high 



250 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

and mighty, she may find her own way down. What ! 
she 's afraid of spoiling her fine shawl, I reckon ; though 
you and I remember, Mrs. Hoggins, when her five- 
shilling Welsh- whittle was kept for Sunday's church ; 
and good enough too, for we all know what her mother 
was. Good Heavens ! here comes Undertaker Croak : 
do let me go out of his way ; I wouldn't sit next to him 
for a rump and dozen, he does tell such dismal stories 
that it quite gives one the blue-devils. He is like a 
night-mare, isn't he, Mr. Smart ?" " He may be like a 
mare by night," replied Mr. Smart, with a smirking 
chuckle, " but T consider him more like an ass by day. 
He ! he ! he !" Looking round for applause at this 
sally, he held out his elbows, and taking a lady, or 
rather a female, under each arm, he danced towards the 
hatchway, exclaiming, " Now I am ready trussed for 
table, liver under one wing and gizzard under the other." 
" Keep a civil tongue in your head, Mr. Smart ; I don't 
quite understand being called a liver look at the 
sparks coming out of the chimney, I declare I 'HI fright- 
ened to death." " Well, then you are of course no 
longer a liver," resumed the facetious Mr. Smart ; u so 
we may as well apply to Mr. Croak to bury you." " O 
Gemini ! don't talk so shocking ; I had rather never die 
at all than have such a fellow as that to bury me." 
" Dickey, my dear !" cried Mrs. Cleaver to her son, who 
was leaning over the ship's side with a most woe-begone 
and emetical expression of countenance, "hadn't you 
better come down to dinner ? There 's a nice silver side 
of a round of beef, and the chump end of a line o' 
mutton, besides a rare hock of bacon, which I dare say 
will settle your stomach." " O mother," replied the 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 251 

young Cockney, " that 'ere cold beef-steak and inguns 
vat you put up in the pocket-handkerchief, vasn't good, 
I do believe, for all my hinsides are of a work." " Tell 
'em it's a holiday," cried Smart. " dear, O dear !" 
continued Dick, whose usual brazen tone was subdued 
into a lackadaisical whine, " I vant to reach and I can't 
vat shall I do, mother ?" " Stand on tip-toe, my 
darling," replied Smart, imitating the voice of Mrs. 
Cleaver, who began to take in high dudgeon this horse- 
play of her neighbour, and was proceeding to manifest 
her displeasure in no very measured terms, when she 
was fortunately separated from her antagonist, and borne 
down the hatchway by the dinner-desiring crowd, though 
sundry echoes of the words " Jackanapes !" and " im- 
perent feller !" continued audible above the confused 
gabble of the gangway. 

" Well, but Mr. Smart," cries Mrs. Suet, as soon as 
she had satisfied the first cravings of her appetite, " you 
promised to tell me all about the steam, and explain 
what it is that makes them wheels go round and round 
as fast as those of our one-horse chay, when Jem Ball 
drives the trotting mare." " Why, Ma'am, you must 

understand- yes, Ma'am, you saw the machinery, I 

believe (capital boiled beef) there's a thing goes up 
and a thing goes down, all made of iron ; well, that's 
the hydrostatic principle ; then v you put into the 
boiler (a nice leg of mutton, Mrs. Sweetbread) let 
me see, where was I ? in the boiler, I believe, Ah ! 
it's an old trick of mine to be getting into hot water. 
So, Ma'am, you see they turn all the smoke that comes 
from the fire on to the wheels, and that makes them 
spin round, just as the smoke-jadk in our chimneys 



252 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

turns the spit ; and then there's the safety-valve in case 
of danger, which lets all the water into the fire, and so 
puts out the steam at once. You see, Ma'am, it's very 
simple, when once you understand the trigonometry of 
it." " perfectly, but I never had it properly explained 
to me before. It 's vastly clever, isn't it ? How could 
they think of it ? Shall I give you a little of the sallad ? 
La, it isn't dressed ; what a shame !" 

" Not at all," cried Smart, " none of us dressed for 
dinner, so that we can hardly expect it to be dressed 
for us. He ! he ! he !" " Did you hear that, Mrs. H. ?" 
exclaimed Mrs. Suet, turning to Mrs. Hoggins, " that 
was a good one, warn't it ? Drat it, Smart, you are a 
droll one." 

Here the company were alarmed by a terrified groan 
from Mr. Croak, who ejaculated, " Heaven have mercy 
upon us ! did you hear that whizzing noise ? there it 
is again ! there's something wrong in the boiler if it 
bursts, we shall be all in heaven in five minutes." " The 
Lord forbid !" ejaculated two or three voices, while 
others began to scream, and were preparing to quit their 
places, when the Steward informed them it was nothing 
in the world but the spare steam which they were let- 
ting off. " Ay, so they always say," resumed Croak, 
with an incredulous tone and woe-begone look ; " but 
it was just the same on board the American steam-boat 
that I was telling you of fifty-two souls sitting at din- 
ner, laughing and chatting for all the world as we are 
now, when there comes a whiz, such as we heard a 
while ago God help us ! there it is once more and 
bang ! up blew the boiler fourteen people scalded to 
death large pieces of their flesh found upon the banks 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 253 

of the river, and a little finger picked up next day in 
an oyster-shell, which by the ring upon it was known 
to be the Captain's. But don't be alarmed, ladies and 
gentlemen, I dare say we shall escape any scalding, as 
we're all in the cabin, and so we shall only go to the 
bottom smack ! Indeed we may arrive safe they do 
sometimes, and I wish we may now, for nobody loves a 
party of pleasure more than I do. I hate to look upon 
the gloomy side of things when we are all happy to- 
gether (here another groan), and I hope I haven't said 
any thing to lower the spirits of the company." 

" There's no occasion," cried Smart, " for I saw the 
Steward putting water into every bottle of brandy." 
The laugh excited by this bon-mot tended in some de- 
gree to dissipate the alarm and gloom which the boding 
Mr. Croak had been infusing into the party ; and Smart, 
by way of fortifying their courage, bade them remark 
that the sailors were obviously under no sort of appre- 
hension. u Ay," resumed the persevering Mr. Croak, 
" they are used to it it is their business they are bred 
to the sea." "But they don't want to be bread to the 
fishes, any more than you or I," retorted Smart, chuck- 
ling at his having the best of the nonsense. 

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Sweetbread, " I never tasted 
such beer as this flat as ditch-water ; they should have 
put it upon the cullender to let the water run out ; and 
yet you have been drinking it, Smart, and never said 
any thing about it." " Madam," replied the party thus 
addressed, laying his hand upon his heart, and looking 
very serious, " I make it a rule never to speak ill of the 
dead. I am eating the ham, you see, and yet it would 
be much better if I were to let it exemplify one of 



254 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Shakspeare's soliloquies Ham-let alone." " La ! 

you 're such a wag," cried Mrs. Hoggins, " there's no 
being up to you ; but if you don't like the ham, take a 
slice of this edge-bone nothing's better than cold beef." 
" I beg your pardon, Madam," replied the indefatiga- 
ble joker " cold beef's better than nothing Ha ! ha ! 
ha!" 

" How do you find yourself now, my darling ?" said 
Mrs. Cleaver to her son, who had been driven below by 
a shower, and kept his hat on, because, as he said, his 
" 'air was quite vet." " Vy, mother, I have been as sick 
aa a cat, but I'm bang up now, and so peckish that I 
feel as if I could heat any thing." " Then just warm 
these potatoes," said Smart, handing him the dish, " for 
they are almost cold." " I'll thank you not to run your 
rigs upon me," quoth the young Cockney, looking 
glumpish, " or I shall fetch you a vipe vith this here 
hash-stick. If one gives you a hinch, you take a hell." 
" Never mind him, my dear," cried his mother, " eat 
this mutton-chop, it will do you good ; there's no gravy, 
for Mr. Smart has all the sauce to himself. Haw ! haw ! 
haw !" " Very good !" exclaimed the latter, clapping 
his hands ; " egad ! Ma'am, you are as good a wag as 
your own double chin." This was only ventured in a 
low tone of voice, and, as the fat dame was at that mo- 
ment handing the plate to her son, it was fortunately 
unheard. Dick being still rather giddy, contrived to 
let the chop fall on the floor, an occurrence at which 
Mr. Smart declared he was not in the least surprised, 
as the young man, when first he came into the cabin, 
looked uncommonly chop-fallen. Dick, however, had 
presently taken a place at the table, and began attack- 



STEAM-BOAT FROM LONDON TO CALAIS. 255 

ing the buttock of beef with great vigour and vivacity, 
protesting he had got a famous " happetite," and felt 
" as ungry as an ouncl." " I never say any thing to 
discourage any body," said Mr. Croak, " particularly 
young people ; it's a thing I hate, but t'other day a fine 
lad sate down to his dinner in this very packet, after 
being sea-sick, just as you may be doing now, when it 
turned out he had broke a blood-vessel, and in twelve 
hours he was a corpse, and a very pretty one he made." 
" I 'm not going to be choused out of my dinner for 
all that," replied the youth, munching away with great 
industry, and at the same time calling out " Steward ! 
take away this porter-pot, it runs." " I doubt that," 
cried Smart. " I say it does," resumed Dick angrily, 
"the table-cloth is all of a sop." "I'll bet you half- 
a-crown it doesn't." ' Done ! and done !' were hastily 
exchanged, when Mr. Smart, looking round with a 
smirk, exclaimed " Ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to 
every one of you whether the pot has not been perfectly 
still, and nothing has been running but the beer." This 
elicited a shout at poor Dick's expense, who sullenly 
muttered, " I 'm not going to be bamboozled out of an 
'alf-crown in that there vay ; and vat's more I von't be 
made a standing joke by no man." " I don't see how 
you can," replied his antagonist, " so long as you are 
sitting." " Vy are you like a case of ketchup ?" cried 
Dick, venturing for once to become the assailant, and 
immediately replying to his own inquiry, " Because you 
are a saucebox." " Haw ! haw !" roared his mother, 
" bravo, Dick ! well done, Dick ! there's a proper rap 
for you, Mr. Smart." Somewhat nettled at this joke, 
poor as it was, the latter returned to the charge, by in- 
9* 



256 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

quiring of Dick why his hat was like a giblet-pie ? and 
after suffering him to guess two or three times in vain, 
cried, "Because there's a goose's head in it," and in- 
stantly set the example of the horse-laugh, in which the 
company joined. Finding he was getting the worst of 
it, Dick thought it prudent to change the conversation, 
by observing that it would luckily be " 'igh-vater in 
the arbour vhen they arrived." " Then I recommend 
you by all means to use some of it," said the pertina- 
cious Mr. Smart ; " perhaps it may cure your squint." 

Both mother and son rose up in wrath at this per- 
sonality, and there would infallibly have been a bour- 
rasque (as the French say) in the hold, but that there 
was just then a tremendous concussion upon the deck, 
occasioned by the fall of the main-boom, and followed 
by squeaks and screams, of all calibres, from the panic- 
stricken company at the dinner-table. "Lord have 
mercy upon us !" ejaculated Croak with a deep groan, 
" it 's all over with us we are going to the bottom I 
like to make the best of every thing it 's my way, and 
I therefore hope no lady or gentleman will be in the 
least alarmed, for I believe drowning is a much less pain- 
ful death than is generally supposed." 

Having run upon deck at this juncture for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining the nature of the accident, which 
he found to be unattended with the smallest danger, 
the writer cannot detail any more of the conversation 
that ensued until their arrival at Calais. 



MEMNON'S HEAD. 257 



MEMNON'S HEAD. 

IT is well known, that there were two statues of Mem- 
non : a smaller one, commonly called the young Mem- 
non, whose bust, by the skill and perseverance of Bel- 
zoni, has been safely deposited in the British Museum ; 
and a larger and more celebrated one, from which, 
when touched by the rays of the morning sun, har- 
monious sounds were reported to have issued. Cam- 
by ses, suspecting that the music proceeded from magic, 
ordered this statue to be broken up, from the head to 
the middle of the body ; and its prodigious fragments 
now lie buried amid the ruins of the Memnonium. 
Strabo, who states himself to have been a witness of 
the miracle, attributes it either to the quality of the 
stone, or to some deception of the priests ; while Pau- 
sanias suspects that some musical instrument was con- 
cealed within, whose strings, relaxed by the moisture of 
the night, resumed their tension from the heat of the 
sun, and broke with a sonorous sound. Ancient writers 
vary so much, not only as to the cause of this mys- 
terious music, but even as to the existence of the fact 
itself, that we should hardly know what to believe, 
were it not for the authority of Strabo, a grave geogra- 
pher, and an eye-witness, who, without any apparent 
wish to impose upon his readers, declares that he stood 
beside the statue, and heard the sounds which pro- 
ceeded from it : " Standing," he says, " with Elius 
Gallus, and a party of friends, examining the colossus, 
we heard a certain sound, without being exactly able to 



258 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

determine whether it proceeded from the statue itself, 
or its base ; or whether it had been occasioned by any 
of the assistants, for I would rather believe any thing 
than imagine that stones, arranged in any particular 
manner, could elicit similar noises." 

Pausanias, in his Egyptian travels, saw the ruins of 
the statue, after it had been demolished by Cambyses, 
when the pedestal of the colossus remained standing ; 
the rest of the body, prostrated upon the ground, still 
continued, at sunrise, to emit its unaccountable melody. 
Pliny and Tacitus, without having been eye-witnesses, 
report the same fact ; and Lucian informs us, that De- 
metrius went to Egypt, for the sole purpose of seeing 
the Pyramids, and the statue of Memnon, from which a 
voice always issued at sunrise. What the same author 
adds, in his Dialogue of the False Prophet, appears to 
be only raillery: "When (he writes) I went in my 
youth to Egypt, I was anxious to witness the miracle^ 
attributed to Memnon's statue, and I heard this sound, 
not like others, whq distinguish only a vain noise ; but 
Memnon himself uttered an oracle, which I could relate, 
if I thought it worth while." Most of the moderns 
affect to discredit this relation altogether, but I cannot 
enroll myself among them ; for, if properties, even more 
marvellous, can be proved to exist in the head of the 
young Memnon, it would be pushing scepticism too far, 
to deny that there was any thing supernatural in the 
larger and more celebrated statue. Unless I have been 
grossly deceived by imagination, I have good grounds 
for maintaining, that the Head, now in the Bjritish Mu- 
seum, is endued with qualities quite as inexplicable as 
any that have been attributed to its more enormous 



MEMNON'S HEAD. 259 



namesake. I had taken my seat before it yesterday 
afternoon, for the purpose of drawing a sketch, occa- 
sionally pursuing my work, and occasionally lost in 
reveries upon the vicissitudes of fate this mighty monu- 
ment had experienced, until I became unconscious of 
the lapse of time, and, just as the shades of evening 
began to gather round the room, I discovered that 
every visitor had retired, and that I was left quite alone 
with the gigantic Head ! There was something awful, 
if not alarming, in the first surprise excited by this dis- 
covery ; and I must confess that I felt a slight inclina- 
tion to quicken my steps to the door. Shame, however, 
withheld me ; and as I made a point of proving to 
myself that I was superior to such childish impressions, 
I resumed my seat, and examined my sketch, with an 
affectation of nonchalance. On again looking up to the 
Bust, it appeared to me that an air of living animation 
had spread over its Nubian features, which had ob- 
viously arranged themselves into a smile. Belzoni 
says, that it seemed to smile on him, when he first dis- 
covered it amid the ruins ; and I was endeavouring to 
persuade myself that I had been deceived by the recol- 
lection of this assertion, when I saw its broad granite 
eyelids slowly descend over its eyes, and again deliber- 
ately lift themselves up, as if the Giant were striving to 
awaken himself from his long sleep ! I rubbed my own 
eyes, and, again fixing them, with a sort of desperate 
incredulity, upon the figure before me, I clearly beheld 
its lips moving in silence, as if making faint efforts to 
speak, and, after several ineffectual endeavours, a low 
whispering voice, of melancholy tone, but sweet withal, 
distinctly uttered the following 



260 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



IN Egypt's centre, when the world was young, 
My statue soar'd aloft, a man-shaped tower, 

O'er hundred-gated Thebes, by Homer sung, 
And built by Apis' and Osiris' power. 

When the sun's infant eye more brightly blazed, 
I mark'd the labours of unwearied time ; 

And saw, by patient centuries up-raised, 
Stupendous temples, obelisks sublime. 

Hewn from the rooted rock, some mightier mound, 
Some new colossus, more enormous, springs, 

So vast, so firm, that, as I gazed around, 
I thought them, like myself, eternal things. 

Then did I mark in sacerdotal state, 

Psammis the king, whose alabaster tomb, 

(Such the inscrutable decrees of fate,) 

Now floats athwart the sea to share my doom. 

O Thebes, (I cried,) thou wonder of the world ! 

Still shalt thou soar, its everlasting boast ; 
When, lo! the Persian standards were unfurl'd, 

And fierce Cambyses led th' invading host. 

Where from the East a cloud of dust proceeds, 
A thousand banner'd suns at once appear ; 

Nought else was seen ; but sounds of neighing steeds, 
And faint barbaric music met mine ear. 

Onward they march, and foremost I descried 
A cuirass'd Grecian band, in phalanx dense; 

Around them throng'd, in Oriental pride, 
Commingled tribes a wild magnificence. 



MEMNON'S HEAD. 261 



Dogs, cats, and monkeys, in their van they show, 
Which Egypt's children worship and obey; 

They fear to strike a sacrilegious blow, 
And fall a pious, unresisting prey. 

Then, Havoc leaguing with infuriate Zeal, 
Palaces, temples, cities, are o'erthrown; 

Apis is stabb'd! Cambyses thrust the steel, 
And shuddering Egypt heaved a general groan. 

The firm Memnonium mock'd their feeble power, 
Flames round its granite columns hiss'd in vain, 

The head of Isis frowning o'er each tower, 
Look'd down with indestructible disdain. 

Mine was a deeper and more quick disgrace: 
Beneath my shade a wondering army flock'd ; 

With force combined they wrench' d me from my base, 
And earth beneath the dread concussion rock'd. 

Nile from his banks receded with affright, 

The startled Sphinx long trembled at the sound ; 

While from each pyramid's astounded height, 
The loosen'd stones slid rattling to the ground. 

I watch'd, as in the dust supine I lay, 

The fall of Thebes, as I had mark'd its fame, 

Till crumbling down, as ages roll'd away, 
Its site a lonely wilderness became. 

The throngs that choak'd its hundred gates of yore, 
Its fleets, its armies, were no longer seen ; 

Its priesthood's pomp its Pharaohs were no more 
All all were gone as if they ne'er had been. 

Deep was the silence now, unless some vast 
And time-worn fragment thunder' d to its base ; 



262 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Whose sullen echoes, o'er the desert cast, 
Died in the distant solitudes of space : 

Or haply, in the palaces of kings, 

Some stray jackal sate howling on the throne ; 
Or, on the temple's holiest altar, springs 

Some gaunt hyaena, laughing all alone. 

Nature o'erwhelms the relics left by time ; 

By slow degrees entombing all the land, 
She buries every monument sublime, 

Beneath a mighty winding-sheet of sand. 

Yain is each monarch's unremitting pains, 
"Who in the rock his place of burial delves ; 

Behold ! their proudest palaces and fanes 
Are subterraneous sepulchres themselves. 

Twenty-three centuries unmov'd I lay, 
And saw the tide of sand around me rise ; 

Quickly it threaten' d to engulf its prey, 
And close in everlasting night mine eyes. 

Snatch'd in this crisis from my yawning grave, 
Belzoni roll'd me to the banks of Nile, 

And slowly heaving o'er the western wave, 
This massy fragment reach'd th' imperial isle. 

In London now with face erect I gaze 

On England's pallid sons, whose eyes upcast 

View my colossal features with amaze, 
And deeply ponder on my glories past 

But who my future destiny shall guess ? 

Saint Paul's may lie like Memnon's temple low ; 
London, like Thebes, may be a wilderness ; 

And Thames, like Nile, through silent ruins flow. 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 263 

Then haply may my travels be renew'd : 
Some Transatlantic hand may break my rest, 

And bear me from Augusta's solitude, 
To some new seat of empire in the West. 

Mortal ! since human grandeur ends in dust, 
And proudest piles must crumble to decay, 

Build up the tower of thy final trust 

In those blest realms where nought shall pass away ! 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 

" The treasures of the deep are not so precious 
As the concealed comforts of a man 
Lock'd up in woman's love." 

MIDDLE-TON. 

IF it be true that the principal source of laughter is the 
exultation occasioned by a sense of our own superiority 
over others, we need not wonder that nations and in- 
dividuals have in all ages been anxious to keep up the 
materials of risibility, by supplying themselves with per- 
petual butts, collective and single. Athens had not only 
her Boeotia, as we have our Yorkshire, for the supply 
of clowns, but her pedant to stand in the convenient 
place of our Irishman, and become responsible for all 
the bulls and blunders which Hierocles or his successors 
might think fit to father upon him ; while no Symposi- 
arch was held to have done his duty in the arrangement 
of a convivial entertainment, unless he had provided an 
established jester, just as it is deemed indispensable to 
invite a professed wag and punster to any party of the 
present day that is meant to be particularly jocund and 



264 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

hilarious. The motley-coloured fools of our royal and 
noble establishments, as well as the dramatic clowns, 
which were once essential to every play, have indeed 
disappeared ; but their place has been supplied by 
amateurs ; and the Court, theatre, and even our House 
of Commons, have each their regular buffoons, although 
the office and name have been ostensibly suppressed. 
Modern refinement may have introduced some little 
change in the process ; we may laugh more often with 
the individual at others, than with others at the indi- 
vidual ; but still the object is the same the pleasant 
gratification of our egotism, and the exaltation of our- 
selves by making others appear ridiculous. 

There are two whole classes of society who have 
done such special service to the utterers of bon-mots and 
composers of epigrams, that amid a dozen standing 
jokes, either of Joe Miller or his successors, at least three- 
fourths will be found to be directed against authors and 
women. Unfortunately for the modern race of wags, 
both these established and abundant sources, which pro- 
mised to afford such an inexhaustible supply of small 
wit, have now become utterly dry and unavailable, for 
few jokes can be good which involve a contradiction in 
terms of a manifest untruth. As no point would redeem 
an epigram which tended to prove Aristides a knave, 
Lucretia a wanton, or Washington a poltroon, so \\v 
can no longer tolerate bald and hackneyed j<-st.s upon 
the poverty of authors and Grub-street garreteers, when 
it is notorious that any man who can write decently is 
sure of a munificent remuneration ; while some have 
realized fortunes by their pen unprecedented in the 
literature of any other age or nation. Still less can we 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 265 

endure those trite and flippant attacks upon women, 
which have afforded such a poor pleasure to the profli- 
gates and sorry ribalds of more licentious ages ; for if 
our females have not yet attained that high and equal 
station in society to which they are assuredly destined, 
they have so far found their rank and influence, and 
established their capacity for the very highest efforts of 
intellect, that any attempt to revive the defunct jokes 
upon their inferiority would be reckoned, in every en- 
lightened company, an evidence of the supremest bad 
taste, or of the most egregious ignorance. 

With this cherished notion, so fertile in supplying 
materials to our wittols, has perished the applicability 
of all these subsidiary jokes upon their frivolity, vanity, 
lovo of dress, and loquaciousness, which have afforded 
subjects to satirists and jesters from the literary days of 
ancient Athens and Rome down to the present hour. 
If their love of finery and garrulity ever exceeded the 
same propensities in men, it was at least a deviation 
from the ordinary laws of nature ; for it is remarkable 
that in the feathered and animal kingdom, the gaudiest 
colours and loudest tongues are invariably bestowed 
upon the male. The peacock and the gentleman phea- 
sant have all the fine clothes and proud strutting to 
themselves ; and if we may draw any further analogy 
from a class of creation which we so much resemble in 
our organization, that man has been designated a " fea- 
therless biped," it is worthy of observation that the hen 
bird invariably sits silently at home attending to her 
household duties, while the male is dandy fying his 
plumage, and chattering, crowing, and chirping all day 
long, So low does this rule extend in the scale of 
12 



266 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

existence, that the shrill incessant cry which salutes us 
from the earth, like that which twitters from the air, 
comes from the male grasshopper only. This fact was 
known to the ancients, but instead of its leading them 
to distrust, from the analogy that runs through nature's 
works, the superior loquacity imputed to women, it 
furnishes Xenarchus, the comic writer, with an addi- 
tional jest at their expense, by enabling him to exclaim, 
"How happy are the grasshoppers in having dumb 
wives !" 

What nature never intended, however, art may un- 
questionably produce ; and at a time when we educated 
our females to become puppets, dolls, and playthings, 
there can be little wonder that the result corresponded 
with the intention. To keep any particular class in 
ignorance, as an excuse for continuing them in bondage, 
is a very old expedient of human policy. It pleases the 
Turks to have slaves in their seraglios instead of wives, 
and they therefore begin with declaring that women 
have no souls, an assertion which they do their best to 
confirm by their mode of treatment; but the practice, 
like every other violation of nature, entails its own 
abundant punishment, sine it compels them to exchange 
the delights of female society for the solitary joys of 
chewing opium and smoking tobacco. For some cen- 
turies the Europeans, as an excuse for that truly infernal 
traffic the slave-trade, thought fit to pronounce that 
the blacks were naturally an inferior race, incapable of 
any higher destiny. But lo ! we have not only woolly- 
headed authors, who ably vindicate their own cause, 
but sable high-titled emperors, who, wearing powder 
and pomatum, crowns, sceptres, and ermine, sacrifice 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 267 

their subjects in war, or oppress them in peace, with as 
much ability as the most civilized and legitimate mem- 
bers of the Holy Alliance ; while there are black Dukes 
of Lemonade, Earls Tamarind, and Counts Malmsey, 
who pass their lives at St. Domingo in as much vice 
and idleness as if they formed a portion of the oldest 
aristocracy in Europe. 

It was easy for the artist who had a sign to paint, 
to represent the man lording it over the lion ; but, as 
the beast justly observes in the fable, u If lions were the 
painters, the case might be reversed." Men who have 
for many ages been the writers, have taken good care 
to assert their superiority by every possible species of 
attack and ridicule levelled against the women ; and if 
the latter, now that they are fairly competing the palm 
of authorship with their male rivals, have nobly ab- 
stained from every attempt at retaliation, what a proof 
does it afford of their superior good taste and generosity ! 
What so easy as to launch the light shafts of their 
raillery against our boobies, chatter-boxes, and dandies ? 
What so natural as that they should level their caustic 
satire against our drunkards, gamesters, and profligates ; 
or more especially, that they should stigmatize and ex- 
pose our sneering bachelors, who have themselves 
created that very class of old maids which they pelt 
with heartless reproaches and pitiful ribaldry ? But no, 
our female writers have disdained the proffered triumph, 
as if determined to prove the superiority of their hearts 
at the same moment that they were establishing the 
equality of their heads. If any one feel disposed to 
doubt their capacity for achieving this victory, let him 
recollect that it may be said of woman, as was recorded 



268 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

of Goldsmith, "nil fere tetiyit quod non ornavit ;" that 
" from grave to gay, from lively to severe," they have 
left imperishable evidences of their intellectual power ; 
that in the light graces of the epistolary style they are 
confessedly our superiors ; that the most impassioned 
writer of lyrical poetry, one of the most learned classical 
commentators, and one of the profoundest and most 
original thinkers of modern times, * have all been women. 
Malherbe says in his Letters, that the Creator may 
have repented having formed man, but that he had no 
reason to repent having made woman : most people of 
sound heads and good hearts (and they generally go 
together, since virtue is only practical wisdom,) will 
unite in opinion with Malherbe ; and yet how glibly 
will scribblers, who must know the falsehood of their 
accusations, fall into this vulgar error of pouring forth 
their stale flippancies against the sex. There is probably 
more male impertinence of this sort in print than was 
ever uttered by the whole of womankind since the 
transgression of Eve. In a former article upon " The 
Satirists of Women," the writer has endeavoured to ex- 
pose the miserable motives by which they have been 
generally influenced in thus venting their disappoint- 
ment and malignity ; and where such direct personal 
feelings cannot be traced, we may perhaps be over- 
charitable in assigning their slanders to ignorance, or an 
overweening conceit of their own epigrammatic smart- 
ness. Nothing but the latter can have seduced such a 
man as Voltaire into the following lines, when speaking 
of women, 

* Madame de Stael. 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 269 



-" Quelques feintes caresses, 



Quelques propos sur le jeu, sur le terns, 
Sur un sermon, sur le prix des rubans, 
Ont Spuise leurs ames exce'de'es ; 
Elles chan talent deja faute d'ide"es." 

Much may be forgiven a man whom we know to 
be capable of better things, who perhaps despises the 
vulgar taste to which he is thus pandering ; but who 
shall absolve the pert brainless smatterers, " who have 
but one idea, and that a wrong one ;" who have but 
one little stock of cut and dried jokes of the same anti- 
feminine tendency, which they vent, usque ad nauseam, 
in the form of rebus, charade, epigram, and epitaph ? 
A shallow coxcomb of this sort will complacently ask 
you, " What is the difference between a woman and her 
glass ?" in order that he may anticipate you by exclaim- 
ing with an assinine grin " Because one speaks with- 
out reflecting, and the other reflects without speaking." 
Following up the same idea, he will inquire whether 
you know how to make the women run after you, and 
will eagerly reply " By running away with their look- 
ing-glasses." He will tell you that Voltaire says " ideas 
are like beards men only get them as they grow up, 
and women never have any," of which only the former 
clause of the sentence is Voltaire's, that which has re- 
ference to women being the addition of some subsequent 
zany. At the bare mention of the sign of the Good 
Woman in Norton Falgate he will chuckle with delight ; 
Chaucer's and Prior's objectionable tales he will quote 
with egregious glee ; upon the subject of marriage he is 
ready with some half dozen of the established bons-mots, 



270 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



and he is provided with about the same quantity of 
epitaphs upon wives from 

" Cy gist ma femme ; ah ! qu'elle est hien 
Pour son repos, et pour le mien," 

which Boileau stupidly pronounced to be the best epi- 
grammatic epitaph upon record, to the more recent 

" Here lies my dear wife, a sad vixen and shrew ; 
If I said I regretted her, I should lie too." 

And his facetious dullness will be wound up with a few 
hard hits at widows, from the dame of Ephesus to the 
last new subject of scandal ; though he will prudently 
say nothing of those upon the coast of Malabar, who for 
many ages have continued to afford instances of conju- 
gal devotion, to which no solitary parallel can be pro- 
duced upon the part of a husband, throughout the whole 
wide extent of time and space. 

His babble, in short, will be a faithful echo of the 
old jest-books, none of which can be opened without 
our stumbling upon a hundred of such stale flippancies. 
Let us consult the Virgilian lots, for instance, of the 
" Musarum Delicia?," by opening it hap-hazard, and we 
encounter the following venerable joke : 

" "Women are books, and men the readers be, 
In whom ofttimes they great errata see ; 
Here sometimes we've a blot, there we espy 
A leaf misplaced, at least a line awry : 
If they are books, I wish that my wife were 
An Almanack, to change her every year." 



WOMEN VINDICATED. 27 1 

Another dip, and we turn up the following dull invec- 
tive: 

" Commit the ship unto the wind, 
But not thy faith to woman-kind ; 
There is more safety in a wave, 
Than in the faith that women have ; 
No woman's good ; if chance it fall 
Some one be good amongst them all, 
Some strange intent the Destinies had, 
To make a good thing of a bad." 

The next venture exhibits some quibbling, too stupid 
to transcribe, upon the etymology of the word woman, 
which is made synonymous with woe-to-man ; while 
we are sapiently informed that a very little alteration 
would convert Eve into evil and devil. Once more we 
open upon the old falsehood of female inconstancy : 

"A woman's love is like a Syrian flower, 
That buds, and spreads, and withers in an hour." 

And shortly after we begin with the fertile subject of 
marriage : 

" Marriage, as old men note, hath liken'd been 

Unto a public fast, or common rout. 
Where those that are without would fain get in, 
And those that are within would fain get out." 

Even in an epitaph upon a young woman, which 
was meant to be encomiastic, the writer cannot forbear 
a misplaced taunt upon the sex : 

" The body which within this earth is laid, 
Twice six weeks knew a wife, a saint, a maid ; 



272 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Fair maid, chaste wife, pure saint, yet 'tis not strange 
She was a woman, therefore pleased to change : 
And now she's dead, some woman doth remain, 
For still she hopes once to be changed again." 

In justice to the author we shall conclude with the 
following, both because it is in a better style as well as 
taste : 

ON HUSBAND AND WIFE. 

"To these, whom Death again did wed, 
The grave's the second marriage-bed ; 
For though the hand of Fate could force 
'Twixt soul and body a divorce, 
It could not sever man and wife, 
Because they both lived but one life 
Peace, good reader ! do not weep ; 
Peace, the lovers are asleep: 
They, sweet turtles, folded lie 
In the last knot that love could tie : 
Let them sleep, let them sleep on, 
Till this stormy night be gone, 
And the eternal morrow dawn : 
Then the curtain will be drawn, 
And they waken with that light 
Whose day shall never sleep in night." 

And now, before dismissing the gentle reader, we 
not only caution him against the sorry and stale imper- 
tinences levelled at a sex, which, in these days of sordid 
or ambitious scrambling among men, remains the re- 
deeming bright spot of humanity, and almost the exclu- 
sive depository of the virtues ; but we do in all sincerity 
of friendly purpose admonish him to perpend our motto 
from Middleton ; and if he be a bachelor, to lose no 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 273 

time in becoming a candidate for those ineffable com- 
forts " locked up in woman's love." To guide him in 
this pious undertaking, we will transcribe for him Sir 
John Mennis's instructions 



HOW TO CHOOSE A WIFE. 

: * Good Sir, if you'll show the best of your skill 

To pick a virtuous creature, 
Then pick such a wife, as you love a life, 

Of a comely grace and feature. 
The noblest part let it be her heart, 

Without deceit or cunning ; 
With a nimble wit, and all things fit, 

With a tongue that's never running : 
The hair of her head it must not be red, 

But fair and brown as a berry ; 
Her forehead high, with a crystal eye, 

Her lips as red as a_ cherry." 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY; 

BY HIMSELF.* 

*' I will conduct you to a hill-side, laborious indeed at the first ascent, but 
else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospects and melodious 
sounds, that the harp of Orpheus was not half so charming. 

AFTER all the critical denunciations against the unfor- 
tunate wight, who suffered the smallest inkling of him- 
self or his affairs to transpire in his writings ; after the 

* Now no longer in existence. 
12* 



274 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

pretty general confinement of Autobiography to play- 
ers, courtesans, and adventurers; after the long ab- 
sorption of individuality in the royal and literary plural 
we, the age has at last adopted the right legitimate 
Spanish formula of "I the King:" our writers, from 
Lord Byron downwards, have become their own heroes, 
either direct or allegorized ; and if any one will cast his 
eye over the columns of our periodical literature, he will 
find one half of the articles to be personal narratives, or 
autobiography in some of its innumerable ramifica- 
tions. If self-preservation be the first law of nature, 
self-description seems now to be the second, and we 
may fairly pronounce the present to be the golden age 
of Egotism. I, for one, do not complain of this, pro- 
vided it be done with talent ; for a long familiarity with 
literature has produced its usual effects upon me, mak- 
ing me more solicitous as to the manner than the mat- 
ter ; and as a good horse cannot be of a bad colour, so I 
hold that an able writer can hardly have a bad subject. 
We can scarcely expect so much talent and we need 
hardly require so much frankness, as characterized the 
Confessions of Rousseau ; for no paper could fail to be 
interesting if it gave a faithful transcript of the author's 
mind. We have enough of dates and registers, and 
the freaks of fortune, and all the changes and ills that 
flesh is heir to ! but it appears that we are very scan- 
tily supplied with histories of mind. Mr. Coleridge, in- 
deed, has given to us " a psychological curiosity ;" but 
as it has reference only to one eventful night, it serves to 
stimulate rather than allay our appetite for similar re- 
velations. Some of our youngest writers, who can have 
experienced little vicissitude of mental or bodily estate, 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 275 

indulge in the most trivial detail of personal matter : 
may not I then, a not unobservant veteran, record the 
life of my mind (if I may so express myself) with as 
much privilege and immunity as is conceded to these 
chroniclers of external and physical existence ? " That 
which hath made them drunk hath made me bold ;" 
and thus inspired, I shall proceed to give a sketch of 
the progress of my mind, so far as I have myself been 
enabled to pronounce judgment upon it, suppressing 
some things, but mis-stating none ; and occasionally in- 
dulging in those diffusive and desultory wanderings 
which my own experience has proved to be almost in- 
evitable ingredients in the character of a Septuagenary. 
Few men perhaps are better qualified for this task ; 
for, owing to a defective memory, I have, from a very 
early age, been in the habit of keeping a journal, not of 
facts only, but of feelings, thoughts and impressions ; 
and thus I may be said never to have forgotten any- 
thing, or, if I had forgotten it, always to have pos- 
sessed the power of recovering what I had lost, by a 
reference to my Diary. Mysterious operation ! Cer- 
tain hieroglyphics are marked upon a paper with a 
black liquid, which, after a lapse of years, shall have 
the power of penetrating through the eyes into the 
sensorium, and of calling up from their sleep recollec- 
tions which, but for this summons, would have slum- 
bered for ever. Sometimes these reminiscences have 
brought up with them roots and off-shoots, and minute 
appendages of time, place, and circumstances, of which 
no record existed on paper, but which, unknown to 
myself, had lain buried in the tenacious soil of even an 
infirm memory, quietly awaiting the uprising of that 



2*76 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

master-thought with whose fibres they were inter- 
twined. What an infinite series of such thoughts and 
images must be stored up in the vast repertory of me- 
mory ; all, too, so admirably classed, and ticketed, and 
arranged, that even after the accumulation of years, 
each is capable of being called up from its hiding-place 
by a simple, unfelt, and instantaneous act of volition ! 
A Journal is a valuable stimulant to this incomprehen- 
sible faculty. A basin of water thrown down a pump, 
of which the sucker is dry, places at your disposal the 
inexhaustible fountains of the earth, and a similar out- 
pouring of the past may frequently be procured^ by the 
expansion which an old Diary gives to the memory. 

Locke is considered as having set at rest the ques- 
tion of innate ideas ; but not with me. I was never 
convinced by his arguments, nor pleased with his cum- 
brous, rambling, and illogical style ; and besides, I had, 
or fancied that I had, proofs in my own experience 
which upset all his reasoning ; for fancies, and imagina- 
tions, and dreams, have presented to me combinations 
which could never have arisen from any external ope- 
rations in this world, and appeared to justify strong 
presumptions of an ante-natal existence. They were 
the twilight of a sun that had set the flutterings of a 
bird not yet reconciled to his new cage the convul- 
sions of a spirit in the crisis of transmutation the 
yearnings of a soul looking back to the race it had run, 
before it fully entered upon its new career. There is 
nothing preposterous in supposing that the soul of man 
is too precious a relic to be inclosed in only one eva- 
nescent shrine ; while it is hardly consistent with rea- 
son or justice to suppose that its eternal doom, whether 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 277 

for good or ill, can be merited by that fleeting proba- 
tion to which one human life is limited ! What ! are 
we to march out of the invisible into the visible world, 
play our short and sorry pranks, and then return into 
invisibility, like the figures of a phantasmagoria, which 
start from the darkness to grin, and mock and mow, 
and " squeak and gibber," and then shrink up again 
into darkness ? Like the performers in a grand the- 
atric procession, we may come in at one door, and 
having the cradle and the coffin for our O. P. and 
P. S., strut across the stage of life in all the dignity of 
tinsel trappings, and so out at the other; but who 
shall assure us, that, like the same performers, we may 
not occasionally run round behind the scenes of the 
graves, return to the first entrance, and repeat our pro- 
cession ? Ay, who shall warrant us against these new 
incarnations of the old spirit, like the Avatars of the 
Hindoo god, or the Platonic metempsychosis not 
however into animal forms, but a new human one 
another and the same ? I have never been wholly sat- 
isfied with the great object of most men's speculation 
the looking forward and conjecturing what we are to 
be in a future world : but have been not less anxious 
to know what we have been in the past one. I have 
invoked all the gods " quibus imperium est ani- 
marum, umbrseque silentes, et Chaos et Phlegethon,'' 
that by their auspices I might be enabled "pandere 
res alta terra et caligine mersas ;" imploring them to 
draw up the veil that I might look backward, and 
have revealed to me the domains, and appearances, and 
modes of being, in the great Ante-natal Infinite. Some 
one has inscribed in the Catacombs at Paris, " Rogas 



278 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

ubi post obitum jaceas ! ubi non nata jacent !" but 
where is this boundless and yet undiscoverable land 
this real terra incognita ! The earth has swallowed up 
and decomposed all that has hitherto existed ; but what 
encampment is vast enough to contain the marshalled 
myriads waiting to be called into existence, for we can- 
not boast, whatever Ovid might, that " one half of round 
eternity is ours." The world is probably young, just 
starting on the race of eternity, to which its present ex- 
istence may bear the same proportion as a grain of 
sand to itself; and the number of human beings hither- 
to born will, of course, be in the same ratio to those 
not yet animated. Psha ! it is a vain and fantastical 
speculation ; our faculties are limited, and we may lose 
the enjoyment of what is proffered by straining too 
ardently after what is withheld, like the dog who 
snatched at a reflection in the water and lost his din- 
ner, or the wiseacre who wasted a summer morning in 
strenuous endeavours to leap beyond his shadow. Yes, 
such researches, by raising our eyes from the realities 
of life, may betray us into danger. Thales, the Mile- 
sian, while gazing at the moon, fell into a pond : " Had 
you looked into the water," said a countryman to him, 
" you might have seen the moon, but by gazing on the 
moon you could never have seen the pond." 

I told you I should be desultory and discursive 
my signature implies it ; but I proceed to my purpose. 
I shall only give a very loose sketch or summary of the 
whole, which, for the sake of condensation, I shall 
throw into large masses of time, and in conformity to 
this arrangement I shall briefly sum up. 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 279 



THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS OF MY LIFE. 

How sweet to contemplate those beautiful frames in 
which an immortal soul is enshrined, before it is agi- 
tated by the passions, or debased by crime ! What a 
compound of the angelic and human nature ! how 
lovely as an object, how interesting as a mysterious 
problem ! The appeal of infant innocence is irresisti- 
ble : infants are mighty in their very helplessness. 
What must they be then, when, to all these touching 
sympathies, is added the powerful instinct of parental 
affection? I call it instinct advisedly, for it will be 
found that nature is an economist, even of the affections, 
and proportions them pretty accurately to the wants of 
the object. Hence it is strongest in the human subject; 
for no animal is born in so helpless a state, or so long 
requires assistance. It is more powerful in the mother, 
because the child is more dependant upon her minister- 
ing offices ; and in her it is generally most intense to- 
wards the deformed in body or mind, the ricketty or 
the idiotic ; not from any perverse or deficient judg- 
ment, but from a watchful impulse of nature directing 
her tenderness in that channel where it is the most need- 
ed. Preservation of the species seems to be the per- 
vading principle of the world ; and it is wonderful to 
reflect how actively and perpetually this agency is at 
work without our being conscious of its presence. 
Birds and beasts, when they have answered the great 
purpose of temporary protection, lose this instinct, pre- 
viously so acute ; they even cease to have the smallest 
recognition of their offspring, and though the pride of 



280 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

man revolts from- any analogies drawn from the animal 
kingdom, I believe that in many of their leading ten- 
dencies there is a marvellous accordance between them. 
Thus I apprehend that parental affection progressively 
weakens as it ceases to be required; and though a 
sense of benefits conferred or received may substitute a 
lively sentiment or principle of friendship, it is no long- 
er an instinct about the preservation of which nature is 
solicitous. Were our feelings upon these points govern- 
ed by justice or a balance of benefits, they would be 
much more powerful towards our parents than our off- 
spring ; but the reverse is notoriously the case. 

I am happy to say that I was rather a stupid boy, 
and in defiance of the poet's maxim, that " the child's 
the father of the man," I am prepared to maintain that 
I ceased to be thus obtuse long before I had any claim 
to the toga virilis. Precocity is generally an indication 
of disease : and it has been very safely predicated of in- 
fant prodigies that they rarely grow up clever, because, 
in fact, they rarely grow up at all. They " o'er-inform 
their tenement of clay;" the fire of intellect burns 
faster than the body can supply it with aliment, and so 
they spiritualize and evaporate. Mind and body are 
yoked together to pursue their mysterious journey with 
equal steps, nor can one outstrip the other without 
breaking the harness and endangering the whole ma- 
chine. I would rather that my child's right shoulder 
should grow higher than his left, than that his mind 
should get the start of his body ; for the former would 
only affect his symmetry, the latter is frequently a fatal 
symptom. Were all authors as ingenious as Dr. John- 
son in disclaiming the juvenile miracles of wit attribut- 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 281 



ed to them, the number of our really precocious writers, 
who have attained subsequent celebrity, would probably 
be extremely limited. As to solitary instances of pre- 
ternatural talent in children, limited to one direction, 
they do not come within the scope of my argument. 
Such is that incomprehensible faculty of arithmetic, in 
the celebrated Calculating Boy, who in an instant can 
solve problems which would be an hour's puzzle to 
our ablest calculators, " with all appliances and means 
to boot;" and yet this urchin cannot even explain the 
process by which he performs the miracle. One would 
imagine that, by some peculiar organization of his 
brain, a ray of omniscience had shot athwart it, giving 
us a single glimpse of its divine origin ; as, when the 
clouds are opened by lightning, we appear to get a 
momentary peep into the glories of the innermost hea- 
ven. With such an example of inexplicable intuition, 
we need not despair of future striplings, who, in the in- 
tervals of peg-top and cricket, will kindly spare a mo- 
ment for quadrating the circle, discovering the longitude, 
explaining the cause of polar attraction, and solving 
other QEdipean riddles which have puzzled the world 
since its creation, while the young sages shall be all 
unconscious of the might within them. Out of the 
mouths of babes and sucklings may such revelations be 
ordained. As, however, the loss of one of our senses 
generally quickens and strengthens the rest, so the pre- 
ternatural growth and vigour of any particular mental 
faculty commonly cripples or weakens the others. A 
hump-backed man is spindle-shanked, and the Calcula- 
ting Boy, in all directions but one, was weak-minded and 
simple. In every thing " order is heaven's first law ; " 



282 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



proportion and equilibrium are the only elements of 
beauty and strength. 

Among the advantages of my birth it was my good 
fortune to be member of a large family, the collision of 
which is highly beneficial in rubbing off the little asper- 
ities and singularities that the youthful character is apt 
to throw out in the petulance of its development. The 
severe discipline and turmoil of school completes this 
process, as the lashing and roaring of the ocean assimi- 
lates the pebbles upon its beach ; but I question whether, 
in this rough mode of polishing, the remedy be not 
worse than the disease. What idle cant and talking 
by rote is it in old men to declare, with a grave shake 
of the head or theatrical sigh, that their school-days 
were the happiest of their lives. Away with such non- 
sense ! they were no such thing. For myself I can de- 
clare that I look back with unmixed horror to that 
period, and that no temptations should induce me to 
live my life over again, if I were again compelled to 
struggle through that accursed Slough of Despond. 
I was never flogged ; and yet my mental sufferings were 
acute. Were I called upon to specify them, I could 
not easily do it : they consisted rather of an aggregate 
of petty annoyances than of any one overpowering evil. 
Of a delicate constitution and sensitive mind, every 
nerve and fibre seemed to be perpetually set on edge. 
My senses and appetites were all outraged by grossness 
and coarse viands ; I was maddened with noise and 
hurly-burly; at one time the boisterous mirth and prac- 
tical jokes of my schoolfellows distressed me ; at another, 
I was terrified by their cries and contortions as they suf- 
fered under the rod. Tough and obdurate minds soon 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 283 

got inured to all this, but mine was of a more tender 
temperament, nor could it find any consolation in a 
hoop or skipping-rope. I hold it little vanity to say that 
" my desires were dolphin-like, and showed themselves 
above the element they lived in." So deeply was my 
mind impressed with the laceration of my feelings at 
this period, that in after-life I never sent a child to 
school without a thousand misgivings and qualms of 
conscience ; and I would rather have thrown a boy to 
the Minotaur at once, than have sacrificed him to the 
slow torment of any public school, polluted by the sys- 
tem of what is technically termed Fagging that is, com- 
pelling a youngster to crouch beneath the foot of some 
malignant tyrant of the first or second form, that he 
may finally take his revenge, not on his oppressor, but 
on the next stripling over whom, as he advances to se- 
niority, he is to exercise the same wanton cruelty. Cow- 
ardly and debasing practice ! It may fit boys for the 
army, but it can hardly fail to render them not less ab- 
ject towards their superiors, than reckless and overbearing 
to those beneath them. 

It is humiliating to reflect how little is subsequently 
retained after passing through this fiery ordeal. At 
least five schoolboys out of ten make a point of forget- 
ting their Latin and Greek, which is nearly all they can 
acquire at a public school, with as much rapidity as 
possible. F says, that such a man is better than one 
who never studied the classics, as an empty censer still 
has a grateful odour from the perfume it contained ; 
but I suspect he would rather sit down to one full bottle 
of Port than smell to a dozen empty claret bottles, 
whatever might have been the fragrance of their bouquet. 



284 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

Person, who retained so much that he could afford to 
boast of what he had lost, was justified in exclaiming to 
a chattering pretender, " Sir, I have forgotten more than 
you ever knew." But, after all, it is better to have 
knowledge to brag of than ignorance. " How comes 
it," said a flippant youngster to Dr. Pan-, " that you never 
wrote a book ? suppose we write one together." " In 
that way," said the Doctor, " we might indeed make a 
very thick one." " How ?" " Why, by putting in all 
that I know and all that you do not know." 

In due time I exchanged the scholastic form for a 
stool in a merchant's counting-house, and found my 
Latin of special service in supplying the initials for 
pounds, shillings, and pence, with which I headed the 
columns of the Petty-cash Book; while my Grecian 
lore fully qualified me to institute a comparison between 
the famous honey of Hybla and Hymettus, and the su- 
gar samples which were ranged on shelves over my 
head. What a revulsion of mind I experienced at being 
suddenly plunged from the all-commanding summit of 
Mount Pindus and the flowery vale of Haemus, where 
my young fancy had held converse with nymphs, fauns, 
and dryads, into the murky day candle-light of a count- 
ing-house in the city, where my aspiring intellect was 
to be fed from the classic fountains of brokers, wharfin- 
gers, and sailors ! Ductile as water, the mind at that 
age soon takes the form of whatever surrounds it. The 
poor pride of excelling, even in this humble knowledge, 
rendering me assiduous, I won the confidence of my 
employer ; and, after due probation, was promoted to 
what is termed a pulpit-desk, where I stood from nine 
in the morning till eight at night, behind three enor- 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 285 

mous books which I was employed in 'posting, and for 
my sole reward received the honorary appellation of 
book-keeper. Greater men than I have performed less 
honourable drudgery for a rag of ribbon across the 
breast or round the knee ; and I only regret the contin- 
uance of offices like mine, because in the great improve- 
ment of mechanical science I think animal machines 
may be dispensed with, and a steam-engine be advan- 
tageously substituted for a book-keeper. My evenings 
were my own : and as I was never very fond of the- 
atres, routs, and parties, and was constitutionally tem- 
perate, I had still some leisure hours for reading, and 
invariably carried a book with me to bed to keep me 
awake, a practice which I have since occasionally 
adopted for a purpose directly opposite. My range did 
not extend beyond the catalogue of a circulating library, 
but nothing came amiss to me ; my appetite was too 
keen to be discriminative, and I swallowed trash with a 
relish which nothing but the raciness of youth and no- 
velty can impart, and which I have since found often 
wanting when more nutritious and wholesome aliments 
were spread before me. Detecting some heraldic error 
in the Gentleman's Magazine, I wrote a letter to correct 
it : how many times I corrected my own correction I 
cannot say, but I remember it occupied four sides fairly 
written, and the reader, if he be not himself an occa- 
sional author, can hardly imagine the impatience with 
which I waited for the end of the month. My hopes 
of its being inserted were but faint, but they were strong 
enough to take me to the publisher's early on the first 
day of the month, where I bought the number, went 
up a court to look over the table of contents, and found 



286 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

that my communication had been inserted. Few mo- 
ments of my life have afforded me more gratification. My 
countenance dropped, however, when I got home and 
turned to the article, for at the first blush it appeared 
to me, by the space it occupied (about a column), to 
have been miserably cut up and curtailed ; but on com- 
paring it with my copy I discovered that not a syllable 
was suppressed, and that this seeming contraction was 
but the natural effect of printing. I continued an oc- 
casional correspondent of the venerable Mr. Sylvanus 
Urban till my mind was out of arms, and I became 
vain enough to imagine that I was fifty years too young 
to be entitled to the patronage of this Ma3cenas of old 
women. 

About the latter end of this period, I began to be 
gratified with the notion that I was rapidly advancing 
towards that epoch which may be termed the prime and 
flower of human life, when the animal and intellectual 
faculties attain their most perfect maturity and devel- 
opment : an idea which was fortified by the recollection 
that the law itself had fixed twenty-one for man's arri- 
val at years of discretion. I cannot help smiling when 
I look back and reflect how many times, as I came near 
it, I postponed this happy sera of compound perfection, 
complimenting myself at each new removal on my own 
more enlarged views, and speaking with some contempt 
of my own juvenile miscalculations. Nay, when I could 
no longer conceal, even from myself, that my corporeal 
powers were on the wane, I consoled myself with the 
belief that my mental ones were daily waxing more vig- 
orous and manly ; and once entertained thoughts of 
writing an essay to prove that the grand climacteric of 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 287 

the frame is the period of rational perfection. There is 
a pleasure even in recalling one's own inconsistencies, 
for they illustrate a beautiful and benignant provision 
of nature, a perpetual system of equivalents balancing 
the pleasures of every age, by replacing the present with 
the future, and weaving around the mind a smiling ho- 
rizon of hope, which, though it recedes as we advance, 
illuminates our path, and tempts and cheers us on until 
the sunset of life. But I am anticipating. I had made 
many more extracts from my early Journals, but I find 
I am ever encroaching too much ; and that I may keep 
within some modesty of limit, I shall proceed at once to 
the second division of my life. 



FROM TWENTY TO FORTY. 

In the early portion of this period, I became sensible 
of a decided alteration in my literary taste ; for I not 
only lost all admiration of the old romances of Gomber- 
ville, Calprenede, Mad. Scuderi, and even Sir Philip Sid- 
ney's Arcadia, which I had devoured ten years before 
with a keen relish, but I found myself incapable of taking 
the trouble to unravel the contrived intricacies and man- 
aged embarrassments of the more modern novels and 
romances : I no longer hung with breathless interest 
over the " Midnight Apparition," or " Mysterious Skele- 
ton," and my stubborn tears refused any more to blister 
the pages of the " Victim of Sentiment," or the " Agonies 
of an Orphan." I am losing all sensibility, said I to my- 
self, and getting obdurate and stony ; but I found that 
any magnanimous act of virtue, any description of gen- 



288 GAIETIES AND GRAVJTJKS. 

erous feeling, any trait of simple heartfelt emotion, still 
struck upon a sympathizing chord in my bosom, and 
occasioned that suffusion of face and tingling of the 
blood which all probably have felt, though few have at- 
tempted to describe. My heart was not so rocky, but 
that, when it was struck with a wand of inspiration like 
this, the waters would gush forth ; my sensibility, me- 
thought, had only taken a loftier and more noble range, 
and I felicitated myself upon the decided improvement 
in my taste. So have I done ever since through a pretty 
numerous succession of similar changes ; and I was, 
perhaps, right in pronouncing each a melioration ; for, 
in the exquisite system of adaptation to which I have 
alluded, each was probably the best for the existing time, 
as it was the most conformable to the alternations of 
my physical and mental organization. At first it was 
somewhat startling to find such a mass of literature 
withdrawn from my enjoyment ; but not only were new 
stores opened as the old ones were closed up, but I found 
a fresh source of gratification in attending to the style 
and composition as well as the matter: I began to relish 
the author as well as the book. A similar substitution 
is perceptible in the sensual appetite, which, when it loses 
the unfailing elasticity of youth, derives a new pleasure 
from selection and refinement ; and thus it will invaria- 
bly be found, that if new enjoyments be not provided 
for mind and body as we advance in life, the old ones 
are rendered more piquant and intense. Diminution of 
quantity is atoned by increase of quality, the maternal 
hand of Nature spreading her blessings over the surface 
of life, so that every age may have a pretty equal share 
of happiness. 




PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 289 

My literary inclinations now turned decidedly to the 
useful and real, rather than the ornamental and imagi- 
nary. My taste for poetry diminished. Shakspeare I 
have idolized at all ages, and I therefore still read him, 
but the historical plays rather than the poetical ones; 
Pope became a favourite, and Milton was occasionally 
taken down from my book-shelves ; but I no longer 
troubled my head about the poetical publications of the 
day, unless they fell in my way in the reviews and mag- 
azines. History and biography were my principal stud- 
ies ; I could even look into scientific works and politi- 
cal economy, once my abomination ; and in metaphys- 
ics and criticism I found much delight. I no longer 
read so much in bed, but I reflected more on what I 
had been perusing in the day. When I speak of my 
studies the reader is not to imagine that I was at this 
time a scholar, or man of literature ; I refer only to 
the bias of my mind in the few hours dedicated to such 
pursuits, and alas ! they were but few, for these years 
were the dark age of my life, blighted by the turmoil 
and anxieties of commercial pursuits, and agitated by 
their stormy vicissitudes. Under certain limitations I 
am a confirmed Optimist ; Parnell's Hermit, elegantly 
bound, is generally laid on my table ; and it is not the 
farcical exaggeration of Candide, nor the sneering wit 
of Voltaire, that can stagger my belief in a great and 
consoling principle. It depends, to a certain extent, up- 
on ourselves, whether or not every thing shall be for the 
best : misfortunes improved are converted into bless- 
ings ; advantages abused become our greatest curses, of 
which the reader will discover abundant confirmation if 
he will look round among his acquaintance. To believe 
13 



290 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

in Optimism is to realize its truth : it is the summary of 
all religion and all philosophy, as it is the dispenser of all 
happiness. I wanted not Pliny's nor Cicero's eulogy to 
throw myself upon literature for consolation under any 
afflicting reverse which I experienced : my mind wel- 
comed it as a friend from whom it had too long been 
separated; and not only did it lose the sense of the 
blankness and desolation that surrounded it, by plunging 
into composition, but the fortunate issue of my first ef- 
fort, by none less expected than by myself, furnished me 
handsome pecuniary supply. Education, however, and 
all the wise saws and modern instances of money-get- 
ting sages, had inspired me with such a horror of pro- 
fessional authorship that I seized the first opportunity of 
again embarking upon the perilous sea of speculation 
and adventure. My cargo was necessarily of little 
worth, but past experience had made me cautious ; the 
fear of loss was more powerful than the hope of gain ; 
and fortune, constant in nothing but her inconstancy, 
made such rapid atonement for her former unkindness, 
that at the close of this second period I was enabled to 
perform three of the wisest, because they have been the 
happiest, actions of my life, I married ; I left off busi- 
ness ; I retired into the country. 

" Amarus est mundus et diligitur ; puta, si dulcis 
esset, qualiter amaretur," is an observation of the golden- 
mouthed Saint ; numerous other preachers and moral- 
ists have inveighed against too great a love of the world, 
and accounted for its bitterness by the fear of our intense 
attachment, were the taste of life more sweet and pala- 
table ; but none of them seemed to have warned us 
against a contrary danger too great a detachment from 




ORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 291 



the earth, and indifference to existence in the ardent and 
insatiable curiosity for penetrating into the mysteries 
beyond the grave, and developing the secrets of futurity. 
Had I, at this period, remained without tie or occupa- 
tion, I verily believe that my restless spirit, ever hunger- 
ing after hidden things, would have spurned at this, and 
sickened for the invisible world. The narrow house of 
death would have been the very forbidden blue chamber 
whose unknown wonders I should have been most anx- 
ious to explore. I should have been in a balloon of 
high fancies, only held fluttering to the earth by a few 
flimsy strings, and anxious for the moment of cutting 
them, that I might soar upon my voyage of discovery. 
But I was blessed with children ; and, like that sacred 
Indian tree whose pendent branches strike fresh roots 
into the ground, I found myself tied with new ligatures 
to the world at every increase of my family. There is 
a drawing by Cipriani, of Cupids entwining wreaths 
around a vase, upon which I have often gazed till the 
tears suffused my eyes, for I have imagined that vase to 
be my heart, and the loves and affections around it my 
children ; so rosy, so grateful to every sense, so redolent 
of balm and all deliciousness, were the domestic gar- 
lands with which I was wreathed and bound anew to 
the earth. We no longer live in those turbulent and 
lawless times when children were valued as a defence ; 
when it could be said, " Happy is he that hath his quiv- 
er full of them, for he shall not be afraid to meet his 
enemy in the gate ;" but even now they are our best de- 
fences against our own lawlessness and instability ; they 
are the anchors which prevent our being blown about 
by the gales of vice or folly. Nature, meaning us to 



292 GA1KTIKS AND GRAVITIES. 

have them, made them correctives as well as blessings ; 
and certain it is, that those who are without them, wheth- 
er men or women, wanting the proper vent for their af- 
fections, are apt to worship Egyptian idols. Dogs, hor- 
ses, cats, parrots, and monkeys, become substitutes for 
Heaven's own image. Men may suffer their hearts to 
become absorbed by worldly occupations ; but I have 
seldom known th e married woman who had strength of 
mind enough to walk straight forward in the path of 
good sense, unless she had a child to show her the way. 
All my female readers in this predicament will please to 
consider themselves the exceptions. 

At my time of life to retire from business was deemed 
little less than Idse-mojeste against the throne of Mam- 
mon, and flagrant contumacy towards all civic prece- 
dent. Like my betters, I should not have presumed to 
enjoy life till I was past all powers of enjoyment ; I 
should have grubbed on till I was worn out, and then 
have retired to the rich man's poor-house at Clapham 
Common, or Hackney, with a debilitated frame and an 
empty mind, annoyed with idleness, incapable of em- 
ployment; hungering for excitement, and yet able to 
feed upon nothing but itself. Had they possessed the 
power, I believe some of the Nebuchadnezzars would 
have thrown me into the fiery furnace for refusing any 
longer to worship the golden image; for when they 
found that I " scorned their smiles, and viewed with 
smiles their scorning," they discovered that I was an 
unfeeling ostrich, and ought to have remained in business 
for the sake of my children. Of all the disguises as- 
sumed by avarice and selfishness, this is the most flimsy 
and hypocritical. I have known many men to continue 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 293 

.their gambling speculations under this pretext, scatter a 
fine fortune, and leave their offspring beggars ; but I 
never knew one, however conscious of the hazardous 
nature of his operations, who had affection enough for 
his children, to make a settlement upon them and 
render them independent of himself and his desperate 
adventures. No, no ; this is miserable cant. Though 
not insensible to the value of money as a means, I 
despise it as an end of life. God knows that in these 
times, when, by the ingenuity of the Funding System, 
we are daily paying for the wars of our pugnacious 
ancestors, and have imposed fresh taxes on ourselves 
by our luxuries, a modicum will not suffice ; but I had 
a great deal more than enough for the higher char- 
acter to which I now began humbly to aspire that of 
a philosopher. I have never desired to be richer : it 
would not hurt me to be poorer. As to my children, 
the} will receive a much larger patrimony than their 
father did ; and I am by no means sure that they will 
possess any advantage over him from commencing 
life with better prospects. I will leave off while I 
am winner, said I to the gold-worshippers : " Hie ces- 
tus artemque repono." Pursue your perilous voyage 
to the Eldorado of your imaginations, and Plutus pros- 
per you ! May you have the touch of Midas, without 
his ears ! may the sands of Pactolus be your ballast, 
the Gold Coast your place of lading, and your souls be 
woven of the Colchian fleece ! I shall rejoice at, not 
envy, your success ; deeming myself still more success- 
ful that from my loop-holes of retreat I can gaze upon 
you, and exclaim 

Inveni portam ; spes et fortuna valete 
Sat me lusiatis; Indite mine alios. 



294 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

The reader is not to imagine, because I retired into 
the country, that I was addicted to field-sports. I never 
killed a bird in my life ; but I was once persuaded to 
angle at Laleham, and the hook stuck in my memory 
for years afterwards ; nor am I now without a twinge 
of self-reproach as I record it. Old Izaak Walton, 
however, must share the blame : his pastoral lines first 
induced me to try a fishing-rod, but I cannot under- 
stand how a man so sensible to the inanimate beauties 
of nature can have been so unfeeling towards her sen- 
tient productions. My scruples upon these points are 
the result of circumstances, not principles ; early oppor- 
tunity would probably have seared all these sympathies, 
and I therefore claim no merit for a sensitiveness which, 
after all, many will, perhaps, deem morbid and fastidi- 
ous. There are virtues of necessity, and constitutional 
virtues, such as temperance in men of delicate health, 
upon which we should be cautious not to pique our- 
selves ; for there is little merit where there is no self- 
denial to endure, and still less where there is no pos- 
sibility of sinning. Some people have a virtuous organ- 
ization, and are physically moral. No ; I withdrew my- 
self into rural shades from more powerful, and I hope 
more noble impulses, from a conviction that they are 
favourable to peace, to health, to virtue ; as well as 
from an ardent enthusiastic love of nature in all her at- 
titudes and varieties of scenery and season. Burns, in 
one of his letters, records the peculiar delight he ex- 
perienced in strolling along the borders of a wood on a 
gusty autumnal day. I could not understand this when 
I first read it, but I have felt it since ; and I have never 
experienced any sorrow, or annoyance, that I could not 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 295 

mitigate, if not subdue, by looking upon the smiling 
face of external nature, or contemplating her charms 
as reflected in the lucid pages of Shakspeare, or listen- 
ing to her voice as attested in the melodious inspiration 
of Comus and Lycidas. But let me not anticipate : 
these are mental luxuries which belong rather to a fol- 
lowing period, and the mention of them reminds me that 
it is time to -proceed to that division of my existence 
which extends 

FROM FORTY TO SIXTY. 

For the first time in my life I found myself blessed 
with tranquillity and leisure, and I seized the propitious 
opportunity for establishing an inquisition into my own 
mind. Self-scrutiny, in the hurly-burly of business, I 
had little inclination to practise, though I knew that the 
storms of that period had not passed over me without 
some devastation of the domain : but halcyon days 
were come, and I sallied boldly into my own heart to 
clear away the rubbish and eradicate the weeds. There 
was enough to do. My temper, though not soured, was 
no longer sweet. It was neither white-wine nor vinegar. 
I was never sulky, but occasionally testy and irritable ; 
unduly annoyed with trifles, peevish at any disturbance 
of my regular habits. Politics moved me at times to 
acerbity and exasperation, though I had no interest in 
their juggles beyond an intense and passionate hatred 
of tyranny, hypocrisy, and usurpation. Fortified with 
the foreknowledge that age has a powerful tendency to 
render us cold, suspicious, and narrow-minded, I set my- 
self at work to discover whether any symptoms of this 



296 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

senile infection were yet perceptible. By nature I knew 
that I was cordial and confiding ; but I knew also, that 
these qualities had occasioned me to suffer somewhat in 
purse, and I suspected that they might have impov- 
erished my disposition. Examinations confirming my 
suspicions, I endeavoured to make a new adjustment, 
grounded upon what was due to myself as well as 
others ; but I rather think that in forming my balance 
I leaned strongly to the former of the two- parties. As 
to the little overflowings of my temper, if I could not 
reduce them altogether, I at least brought them down 
to low-water mark, and more I would not attempt, re- 
membering the couplet of Dryden 

"Reaching above our nature does no good, 
We must fall back to our old flesh and blood." 

Impeccability I left to the fanatics, who would fain be 
as outrageous saints as they once were sinners. It is 
astonishing how much good may be effected, how 
much bitterness mollified, how much latent happiness 
developed, by this species of self-inspection, pursued with 
candour and governed by philosophy. The mind is 
autocratic, and can create itself, so far at least as con- 
cerns temper and capacity for receiving and communi- 
cating pleasure. 

Among, the changes of mode and habit which I 
have recorded of this period, I find, that after all my 
denunciations against it as a frivolous waste of time, I 
fell into the practice of playing whist, which I have 
continued to this day ; not however as a gambler or 
professed tactician, but rather for society and relaxa- 
tion, preferring my own family, or neighbours, however 




PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 297 

inexpert, to the regular practitioners. I only state this 
trifle, to accompany it with the remark, that my own 
detected inconsistencies made me more indulgent than 
I had hitherto been to the vacillations of others. My 
Journal assures me that I have grieved in spirit more 
often than was becoming, when my dinner was not 
dressed to my liking; and that a disposition was creep- 
ing on me to attach too much importance to the refec- 
tion of the animal system. A writer of no mean celeb- 
rity has maintained that the brains are in the stomach, 
and Persius talks of the " magister artium, ingenique 
largitor venter ;" but rather than " make a god of my 
belly," I would have realized the fable of Menenius 
Agrippa, and set all the members of my body in mutiny 
against it until it was starved into submission. This 
vice of age I crushed as soon as it was hatched. I eat 
to live, but am in no danger of living to eat. By the 
same memorial I find, that as I approached fifty I more 
than once felt a disposition to sneak over my birth-day 
without notice ; but I soon got ashamed of this weak- 
ness, and have celebrated it ever since with due festivity, 
giving all notoriety to my age, that the malicious ac- 
curacy of the world might flap my ears should I at- 
tempt to relapse into obliviousness. There is no harm 
in availing ourself of others' littlenesses to prevent our 
own. Poor humanity ! how inconsistent art thou in 
the treament of the natal day ! What assemblage of 
friends, what merry-making and bumpers to the health 
of the chubby and bedizzened child ! what shouting, 
what roasting of oxen, and out-pouring of ale, among 
the young heir's tenants, when " Long expected one- 
and-twenty, happy year, is come at last !" How duly 



298 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

are all the family circled round the plenteous board as 
this revolving day rolls us up the hill of life ; and as 
we begin to descend it, how gradually and impercepti- 
bly does the celebration die away, till it passes over in 
silence, unrecorded, except in the consciousness of the 
ageing individual, or the spiteful whispers of his asso- 
ciates ! Sometimes it is noticed only to be falsified, as 
in the case of Lady L , whose husband always in- 
quires on her birth- day how old she will please to be on 
the following year. Sometimes the party stands dog- 
gedly at bay against time, like old C , who having 

arrived at ninety, refused to go any farther, and has re- 
mained there ever since ; as if he could alter the hour 
by stopping the clock, or arrest the great wheel by re- 
fusing to count its rotations. A little boy of mine once 
lowered the index of a barometer to " much rain " ran 
into the garden, and was astonished to find it as fine as 

ever. Old C , in his second childhood, is not much 

more reasonable. 

My impertinent Chronicle assures me also that about 
the same period I detected myself in little paltry acts 
of stinginess, grudging half-pence, and looking suspi- 
ciously after " candle-ends and cheese-parings," though 
I never dreamt of making any alteration in my estab- 
lishment ; so true is Swift's remark, that five pounds 
a-year would save any man from the reputation of being 
a niggard. This propensity is of a very encroaching 
character : it is a sort of dry-rot, which, if it once gain 
admission, will creep along the beams and rafters of 
your mind, till the whole fabric be corroded. Much 
trouble did it cost me to eradicate this weed ; and often 
have the latent seeds sprung up afresh, and demanded 




PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 299 

all my vigilance to prevent their gaming possession of 
the premises. 

Exercise for the body, occupation for the mind 
these are the grand constituents of health and happi- 
ness ; the cardinal points upon which every thing turns. 
Motion seems to be a great preserving principle of na- 
ture, to which even inanimate things are subject ; for 
the winds, waves, the earth itself, are restless, and the 
wafting of trees, shrubs, and flowers, is known to be an 
essential part of their economy. Impressed with this 
truth, I laid down a fixed rule of taking several hours' 
exercise every day, if possible, in the open air ; if not, 
under cover : and to my inflexible adherence to this 
system do I attribute my remarkable exemption from 
disease, as well as from the attacks of low spirits, or 
ennui, that monster who is ever prowling to waylay the 
rich and indolent. 

" Throw but a stone, the giant dies." 

What exercise is to the frame, occupation is to the 
mind. I portioned out my hours so as not to leave a 
moment unemployed : I commenced a systematic course 
of reading, and became pretty regularly engaged in 
composition, that most delightful of all recreations so 
absorbing, that it renders us unconscious of the lapse of 
time so soothing, that it lulls to rest all the sorrows of 
the heart. Never was I so busy as when I became an 
idle man ; never was I so happy as when I was thus 
busy. Fortunately, I had success enough to give an in- 
terest to the pursuit, without arriving at that distinction 
which is apt to engender bitterness. Satisfied with the 



300 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

delight of composition, I cared little about present, and 
less about future fame. Fontenelle declared, that if he 
were dying, and knew that his desk contained papers 
that would render his memory infamous, he would not 
walk across the room to burn them. Had they no 
family or friends to be affected by their posthumous 
reputation, perhaps many men would be equally indif- 
ferent. 

I have recorded the pleasure of being a father ; can- 
dour obliges me to mention some of its annoyances. 
My son grew up with a decided predilection for that 
profession which I have ever held in deep abhorrence 
the Army. Habituated, as I have said, to look at men 
and actions in the abstract and elemental, I could not 
see why gold lace and feathers, and scarlet cloth and 
music, should so dazzle and stun me to all perceptions 
of right and wrong, as to make me respect the man who 
would hire himself as a trader in blood. Such persons, 
I may be told, are necessary ; but I should be sorry to 
see my son in the occupation. The army will excuse 
me : they have the admiration of a thoughtless world, 
and may well despise the crazy notions of a fantastical 
old man, who cannot see any power of absolution either 
in a Pope or a gold epaulette. My youngster was 
reasoned out of this boyish hankering ; but, alas ! his 
second choice still was uncongenial with my wishes, 
for he now selected the bar. My notions, I am aware, 
are absurd, unreasonable, preposterous ; but that I might 
venerate at least one individual of this profession, I have 
been all my life looking for the advent of some consci- 
entious barrister, who should scrupulously refuse a brief, 
unless the cause of his cliont at least wore the appear- 




PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 301 



ance of honesty and justice ; who should exert his skill 
and eloquence in redressing the injured, and releasing the 
unwary from the traps and fetters of the law, while he 
left knaves and robbers to its merited inflictions. How 
can I respect a being, the confidant, perhaps, of male- 
factors, who will torture his ingenuity, and w T rest the 
statute-book, to screen them from punishment, and turn 
them loose upon society for fresh offences ; who will 
hire out his talents to overreach the innocent, to de- 
fraud the orphan, to impoverish the widow ; who, 
with a counterfeit earnestness, will lay his hand upon 
his heart and make solemn asseverations, every one of 
which he knows to be false ; and for another two or 
three guineas, will on the same day take the opposite 
side, and with the same vehemence maintain facts and 
reasonings diametrically the reverse ? It must be as 
difficult to render this practice consistent with a manly 
candour and honourable sense of the importance of truth, 
as to prevent the system of quibbling, chicanery, and 
hair-splitting, from being destructive of all enlarged and 
comprehensive views. We all know there are excep- 
tions, but in the aggregate I am afraid that the " hon- 
ourable profession " is not so independent as could be 
wished. They sell themselves in retail to their clients, 
and by wholesale to Government whenever the Minis- 
ter has a mind to bait a trap for rats. Worldly ideas 
of the gentility of a profession, or the chances of ad- 
vancement in it, blinded me not. Perhaps I did not 
render sufficient homage to the necessary modifications 
of society by raising my views to the contemplation 
of man in his elements, I overlooked his accidents and 
all the paltry distinctions of human institution. A man 



302 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 



of honour or talent has always been welcome ; and I 
have felt no horrors if he were of a vulgar trade, or 
even wore a shabby coat. Far from seeking birth and 
rank, I have been rather prejudiced against their pos- 
sessors, deeming it difficult for such persons to over- 
come the seductions of their education. The spoilt 
children of Fortune, like those of the nursery, are apt to 
be very empty, very arrogant, and very offensive. 
No : I would neithe r have my son live upon the blood 
and misery, nor upon the vices and follies, of his spe- 
cies. I would neither have him fawn upon a general, 
nor truckle to a judge, nor feast a lawyer. I made him 
a farmer that most ancient and honourable of all pro- 
fessions. I made him independent of all the world ; 
and bidding him look only to the universal mother, 
Earth, who, like the maternal pelican, feeds her off- 
spring from her torn bosom, I taught him to support 
himself by ministering to the comfort, enjoyment, and 
support of others. Of the pressure to which agricultu- 
rists have been subjected, he has cheerfully borne his 
portion : he is not rich, but he is virtuous, he is happy, 
and, above all, he is independent. 

" The holy vessel of the Athenians, during a course 
of seven hundred years, had been so often rebuilt, that 
some of their sophists maintained it was no longer the 
same ship, and frequently used it as an illustration in 
discussing the question of personal identity. I myself, 
both in body and mind, had undergone such a total re- 
placement of feelings and ideas, in my little existence 
of threescore years, that I was inclined to think myself 
a different personage altogether from the short-sighted 
youth, who considered forty as a grave paternal age, 



PORTRAIT OF A SEFTUAGENARY. 303 

and connected sixty with nothing but ideas of decrepi- 
tude and decay. I remember when I thought that the 
consciousness of getting old arid approaching the edge 
of the dread abyss, must, at the former age, begin to 
dim the sunshine of existence, and at the latter be suf- 
ficient to overcloud and darken all its enjoyments. 
These spectres of fancy vanished as I came near them. 
At forty I set myself down for a young man : and find- 
ing myself at sixty hale, hearty, and happy, able to dig 
in my garden, enjoy literature and the arts, and culti- 
vate the Muse with a keener relish of existence than 
ever, I settled in my own mind that this was the real 
meridian and zenith of human life. Children, when 
first they ride in a carriage, imagine that the trees and 
houses are moving on while they are stationary ; and 
in like manner I could see plainly enough the ravages 
of time upon my contemporaries, and observe that they 
were getting on, while I myself seemed to have been 
standing still, and at some loss to account for all my 
old friends running ahead of me. This is another 
illustration of that benignant provision of nature, which 
will not suffer even our self-love to be wounded, and 
equalizes the happiness of life's various stages, by 
making even the foibles of age minister to its enjoy- 
ments. Whether or not this happy self-delusion re- 
tained its power at a more advanced period, will be 
seen as I proceed to that portion of my life which 
extends 

FROM SIXTY TO SEVENTY. 

The overweening and somewhat triumphant esti- 
mate which I had formed of my threescore meridian 




304 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

was slightly checked, by my hearing one friend whis- 
per to another at a dinner-party, " Old W be- 
gins to twaddle ; he has told us that story half a dozen 

times lately." Old W ! that amen " stuck in my 

throat ;" it threatened my zenith, and savoured of the 
azimuth. Six times too ! I protest it was but three, 
but that I confess was twice too much. My memory 
certainly had lost a portion of its tenacity, and unless 
I could retain impressions long enough to allow them 
to strike root, they quickly withered away ; in which 
emergency I was, perhaps, too apt to trade upon my 
youthful capital of anecdotes. This defect I endea- 
voured to remedy by a common-place book; for if I 
forced myself to remember one thing, I not unfre- 
quently forgot another. It appeared as if the cham- 
ber of the brain were full, and could only accommodate 
new tenants by ejecting the old ones. When thus 
reminded of my repetition of the same story to the 
same party, I instantly recalled the fact, which proves 
that my offence was a want of recollection rather than 
of memory, a distinction not always attended to. 
One, however, is often the precursor of the other. 
Considering that novelty has generally been deemed 
a necessary ingredient in the production of laughter, 
I have been sometimes astonished at the punctual 
burst with which my old bon-mots were invariably fol- 
lowed up by myself, even when others have observed a 
provoking gravity ; and have been at a loss to decide 
whether it were habit, or sympathy with my first en- 
joyment of the joke awakening a kind of posthumous 
echo. At all events I set a good example ; if others 
would not follow it, more shame for them. 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGEN ART. 305 



My communion with nature in the beauty of her 
external forms, far from diminishing at this period, be- 
came every year more intense and exquisite, height- 
ening by reflection my relish for the works of art ; but 
I observed in the latter my eye derived its principal 
gratification from gracefulness of figure and outline, 
rather than from composition, colouring, or scientific 
display. Thus, I preferred statuary to painting, as it 
suffered my attention to feed without interruption 
upon the harmonious proportions and symmetry of the 
great goddess ; and in the graphic art I found more 
delight in a single drawing of the divine Raphael, than 
in all the hues of Titian and the colourists, or all the 
patient elaboration of the Flemish and Dutch minia- 
turists. In my love of nature I felt jealous of the artist 
beyond mere fidelity of form (I speak principally of 
figures) ; and in engraving, where there is no colour 
to compensate for alienating the eye, I deemed that 
style the best which is confined to outline. Some of 
the commoner productions of this sort are generally 
lying on my table, and I find undiminished delight in 
the French Cupid and Psyche from the paintings of 
Raphael's pupils, Hope's Costumes of the Ancients, 
etchings of the Elgin Marbles, Retch's Faustus, and 
other similar productions. Generally speaking, artists 
and professors appear to me to acquire a false artificial 
taste, which, overlooking the simple and natural, 
makes difficulty of execution the test of excellence, 
a mistake extending from painters and sculptors down 
to opera-dancers and musicians. 

My mind is less excursive than it was ; it requires 
less excitement, and is satisfied with less nutriment, 



806 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

preserving, in its mystic union with the body, a con- 
sentaneous adaptation ; for, though I walk or ride out 
whenever the weather permits, I can no longer exer- 
cise my limbs as I was wont. A sunny seat in my 
garden begins to be preferred to my old grey mare. I 
sit there sometimes for a considerable time, and think 
that I am thinking, but I find that the hour has passed 
away in a dreamy indistinctness a sort of half con- 
sciousness, sufficient for enjoyment, though incapable 
of definition. These waking dreams may be a re- 
source of nature for recruiting the mind, as I have 
always found mine more vigorous and active after such 
indulgence. 

There is one calamity to which age seems inevitably 
exposed the dropping off into the grave of our early 
friends and associates, as we advance towards the final 
bourne and seem to have most need of their social 
offices. But nature, ever on the watch to provide sub- 
stitutes for our deprivations, while she blunts our sym- 
pathies in this direction, quickens them in another, by 
raising up a new circle of friends in our children and 
grand-children, less subject to the invasion of death, 
and better qualified by attachment and gratitude to 
minister to the wants of the heart. These are the affec- 
tions that garland it with the buds and blossoms of a 
second spring ; these are the holy band whose miracu- 
lous touch can bid the thorn of mortality, like that of 
Glastonbury, break forth into flowers even in the Christ- 
mas of our days. This is the cup of joy that contains 
the sole aurum potabile, the genuine elixir vitoe that 
can renovate our youth and endow us with a perpetuity 
of pleasure. 




PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 307 



In my former solitary wanderings and contempla- 
tions of nature, I had delighted to let my imagination 
embody forth the dreams of Grecian mythology and 
fable ; to metamorphose the landscape that surrounded 
me to the mountains and dells of Arcadia and Thes- 
saly ; to people the woods and waters with nymphs, 
fauns, Dryads, Oreads, and Nereids ; losing myself 
in classical recollections, and bidding them occasion- 
ally minister to the inspirations of the Muse. But the 
charms of rural scenery now kindled in my bosom a 
higher and holier sentiment. I looked out upon the 
beautiful earth, clothed in verdure and festooned with 
flowers, upon the glorious all-vivifying sun, upon the 
great waters bounding in unerring obedience to the 
moon, and into the blue depths of heaven, until I 
stood, as it were, in the presence of the Omnipotent 
Unseen ; my senses drank in the landscape till they 
became inebriated with delight ; I seemed interfused 
with nature ; a feeling of universal love "fell upon my 
heart, and in the suffusion of its silent gratitude and 
adoration I experienced a living apotheosis, being in 
spirit rapt up into the third heaven, even as Elijah 
was in the flesh. Bold romantic scenery was not es- 
sential to the awakening of this enthusiasm : it has 
sprung up amid my own fields ; and in the study of 
botany, to which I have always been attached, the 
dissection of a flower has been sufficient to call it forth, 
though in a minor degree. All nature, in fact, is 
imbued with this sentiment, for every thing is beau- 
tiful, and every thing attests the Omnipresence of 
Divine love ; but grand combinations will, of course, 
condense and exalt the feeling. Old as I am, I can 



308 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

still walk miles to enjoy a fine prospect ; I often get up 
to see the sun rise, and I rarely suffer it to set, on a 
bright evening, without recreating my eyes with its 
parting glories. I can now feel the spirit in which the 
dying Rousseau desired to be wheeled to the window, 
that he might once more enjoy this sublime spectacle. 
How often, in my younger days, have I repeated 
the well-known lines of Dryden, 

" Strange cozenage ! none would live past years again, 
Yet all hope pleasure from what still remain, 
And from the dregs of life think to receive 
What the first sprightly running would not give: 
I'm tired of toiling for this chymic gold, 
Which fools us young, and beggars us when old." 

I had lived to disprove them. I would live past 
years again, but it should be the latter, not the former 
portion ; for the current of my life, as it approaches 
the great ocean of eternity, runs smoother and clearer 
than in its first out-gushing. Like Job's, my latter 
days have been the most fully blessed. I am now 
seventy years of age ; and bating the loss of a few 
teeth, and some other inevitable effects of age upon my 
person, I still possess the mens sana in corpore sano, and 
"bate no jot of heart or hope." My journey from 
sixty to seventy has been as delightful as that from 
forty to sixty ; nor do I anticipate any future disap- 
pointment should it be extended to eighty or ninety, 
for my confidence in nature's substitutions and benig- 
nant provisions is boundless. Had she fixed a century 
as the impassable boundary of life, we might feel some 
annoyance and apprehensions as we approached it', 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTUAGENARY. 309 



but by leaving it undetermined, she has, to a certain 
extent, made us immortal in our own belief, for Hope 
is illimitable. I often catch myself anxiously inquiring 
of what disease my seniors have died, as if their disap- 
pearance were contrary to the usual course of things, 
and attributable to accident. " The shortness of human 
life," says Dr. Johnson, u has afforded as many argu- 
ments to the voluptuary as the moralist." How opera- 
tive, then, must it be with me, who am anxious to 
combine both tendencies, and be considered a moral 
voluptuary, or, in other words, a philosopher : not a fol- 
lower of Aristippus, or disciple of the Cyrenaic school, 
devoted to worldly and sensual delights under which 
the soul " embodies and embrutes ;" but as a pupil of 
the much misunderstood and calumniated Epicurus, 
cultivating intellectual enjoyments, and holding plea- 
sure to be the chief good, and virtue the chief pleasure ! 
These are the laudable delights to which I feel a new 
stimulant from considering the shortness of my remain- 
ing career ; and whether its termination be near or dis- 
tant, these enjoyments will, I verily believe, accompany 
me to the last, and enable me to fall, like Caesar, in a 
becoming and decent attitude. 

I have just laid down Wordsworth's Excursion, 
which I have been reading in the fields. How beauti- 
ful is the evening ! The ground is strewed with dead 
leaves, which the wind has blown up into little heaps 
like graves ; autumn has spread her varicoloured man- 
tle over those which still flutter on the trees, some of 
which, crisp and red, tinkle in the air ; while, from the 
chestnuts over my head, a large russet leaf, flitting 
from time to time before my oy< s, or falling at my feet, 



310 GAIETIES AND GRAVITIES. 

seems to pronounce a silent " memento mori" The 
sun is rapidly sinking down, leaving the valley before 
me in shade, while the woods that clothe the hill 
upon my left, suffused with rosy light, but tranquil and 
motionless, seem as if they reposed in the flush of sleep. 
Three horses, unyoked from the plough, are crossing 
the field towards their stable, and the crows that have 
been following the furrow retire cawing to their nests, 
while a flock of sheep, attended by the shepherd and 
his dog, are slowly withdrawing to the fold. Every 
thing seems to breathe of death, to remind me that 
my sun too is setting, and that I must shortly go to 
my long home, for the night is approaching. And 
here, methinks, if my appointed time were come, with 
the grass for my bed of death, the earth and sky sole 
witnesses of my exit, I could contentedly commit my 
last breath to the air, that it might be wafted to Him 
who gave it. 

Life is at all times precarious ; there are but a few 
feet of earth between the stoutest of us and the grave, 
and at my age we should not be too sanguine in our 
calculations ; yet if I were to judge of my own un- 
broken health and inward feelings, as well as from the 
opinions of others more competent to pronounce, I have 
yet ten years at least, perhaps many more, of happiness 
in store for me. Should the former period be consum- 
mated, I pledge myself again to commune with the 
public. Should it be otherwise, I may, perhaps, be 
enabled to realize the wish of the celebrated Dr. Hun- 
ter, who half an hour before his death exclaimed, 
" Had I a pen and were able to write, I would de- 
scribe how easy and pleasant a thing it is to die !" In 



PORTRAIT OF A SEPTU AGE NARY. 311 

either alternative, gentle reader, if my example shall 
have assisted in teaching thee how to live grateful and 
happy, and to look upon death with resignation, the 
object of this Memoir will be attained, and thou wilt 
have no cause to regret perusing this sketch of 

A SEPTUAGENARY. 



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